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Gaza Relief: Aid Ship Departure from Cyprus Anticipated for the Weekend

Aid Ship Departure from Cyprus Anticipated for the Weekend
US Central Command and the Royal Jordanian Air Force conduct a combined humanitarian assistance aird... US Central Command and the Royal Jordanian Air Force conduct a combined humanitarian assistance airdrop to Northern Gaza to provide essential relief to civilians affected by the ongoing Israeli attacks on March 7, 2024 in Northern Gaza. U.S. Central Command | Anadolu | Getty Images
Aid Ship Departure from Cyprus Anticipated for the Weekend
US Central Command and the Royal Jordanian Air Force conduct a combined humanitarian assistance aird... US Central Command and the Royal Jordanian Air Force conduct a combined humanitarian assistance airdrop to Northern Gaza to provide essential relief to civilians affected by the ongoing Israeli attacks on March 7, 2024 in Northern Gaza. U.S. Central Command | Anadolu | Getty Images

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Gaza Relief: Aid Ship Departure from Cyprus Anticipated for the Weekend

A ship loaded with essential supplies bound for Gaza is poised to depart from Cyprus, aiming to alleviate the impending famine in the region. The European Commission has announced the potential commencement of a maritime aid corridor between Cyprus and Gaza, set to operate under the management of an international charity financed by the UAE.

The Open Arms, a vessel owned by a Spanish NGO renowned for migrant rescue missions, is expected to lead the inaugural mission. While still stationed at the port of Larnaca in Cyprus on Saturday afternoon, the exact departure time remains unspecified.

Located approximately 210 miles northwest of Gaza, Cyprus requires about 15 hours of sailing time to reach the crisis-stricken area. Meanwhile, the United States has disclosed plans to construct a temporary jetty to facilitate aid delivery into Gaza, considering the absence of port infrastructure in the region. Initially, Cyprus will be utilized for screening cargoes, with Israeli officials overseeing the process, eliminating the need for security checks in Gaza.

Efforts to negotiate a ceasefire in Israel’s conflict with Hamas have reached an impasse. In response to the escalating humanitarian crisis, pallets of rice, flour, and protein are loaded onto the Open Arms in Larnaca. The World Central Kitchen (WCK), a charity primarily funded by the UAE, spearheads the operation. Aid agencies have issued warnings about an imminent famine, exacerbated by severe bottlenecks in aid deliveries at land border checkpoints, impacting most of Gaza’s 2.3 million internally displaced residents.

A sea corridor from Cyprus is being established to augment aid supplies, complementing existing initiatives such as food airdrops. The WCK, collaborating with Spain’s Proactiva Open Arms, orchestrates food sourcing and distribution. Emphasizing the necessity for multiple shipments, WCK noted that an additional 500 tonnes of aid is prepared to follow the initial delivery.

Despite the deadlock in ceasefire negotiations, the intention is to sail to Gaza, where the WCK and its partners are constructing a jetty. This initiative is distinct from the U.S. jetty project. Since 2007, Gaza has been under an Israeli navy blockade following Hamas’ control of the enclave. While direct sea arrivals have been infrequent, Larnaca port was utilized by pro-Palestinian activists using small sailboats to access Gaza’s harbor in 2008.


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