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UN: Opening maritime passage to Gaza insufficient to meet Gaza's aid needs

March 13, 2024 at 10:07 am

Palestinians, who are unable to meet their basic needs due to the Israeli army’s obstruction of humanitarian aid, receive a bag of flour from an aid truck that arrived at al-Rashid Street in the west of Gaza City, Gaza on March 06, 2024. [Dawoud Abo Alkas – Anadolu Agency]

Two senior UN officials yesterday welcomed the opening of a maritime passage from Cyprus to deliver aid to the Gaza Strip, but said that this cannot replace the delivery of humanitarian aid by land.

Sigrid Kaag, senior UN humanitarian and reconstruction coordinator for Gaza, and Jorge Moreira da Silva, UN under-secretary-general and UNOPS executive director, said: “When it comes to delivering aid on a wide scale, there is no significant alternative to many of the land routes and entry points from Israel to Gaza.”

“The land routes from Egypt, especially Rafah, and Jordan are also essential for comprehensive humanitarian efforts,” they added.

They explained that the maritime passage is a much-needed addition and is part of a sustainable humanitarian response to provide assistance as effectively as possible through all possible means.

A ship carrying 200 tonnes of aid for Gaza left Cyprus yesterday in a pilot project to open a sea route to deliver supplies to Gaza, which aid agencies say is on the brink of famine.

The charity ship Open Arms was seen sailing out of Larnaca port in Cyprus, towing a barge containing flour, rice and protein. The mission is being funded mostly by the UAE and organised by US-based charity World Central Kitchen (WCK).

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