Gaza Strip receives nearly 200 tonnes of food, supplies, UN describes ‘enormous obstacles’ to getting relief

A ship towing a barge loaded with food arrived off the coast of Gaza on Friday, witnesses said, as a test of a new sea aid route from Cyprus to the devastated Palestinian enclave where famine threatens after five months of Israeli military campaign.

The ship, organized by the charity World Central Kitchen (WCK), is carrying almost 200 tonnes of aid which will be delivered via a jetty being prepared in Gaza, with a second ship expected to sail soon.

There are few details on how the delivery and distribution of aid will work once it is ready to be unloaded in Gaza, with UN humanitarian agencies describing huge obstacles to it. delivering relief to those who need it.

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Humanitarian aid for Gaza is loaded onto a cargo ship amid the ongoing conflict between Israel and the Palestinian Islamist group Hamas, (Reuters/Yiannis Kourtoglou)

If the new sea route succeeds, it could help ease the food crisis gripping Gaza, where much of the population faces malnutrition and hospitals in the worst-hit northern regions have reported children dying of starvation.

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However, delivering aid by sea and air will not be enough to compensate for the difficulties in obtaining supplies by land, humanitarian agencies have repeatedly said.

The war in Gaza began on October 7 when Hamas fighters invaded Israel, killing 1,200 people and taking 253 hostages, according to Israeli figures.

Israel’s air and ground campaign has since killed more than 31,000 Palestinians according to health authorities in Hamas-run Gaza, while driving most of the population from their homes and pushing the enclave toward famine.

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