Temporary U.S. pier for crucial aid reattached to Gaza beach, military says

June 7, 2024
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A temporary American pier has been reattached to a beach in the Gaza Strip Friday, almost two weeks after high seas damaged the pier and forced the suspension of crucial aid deliveries to starving Palestinians.

Vice Adm. Brad Cooper, the deputy commander of United States Central Command, told reporters that the pier should be delivering aid “in the coming days,” although he did not specify when.

Engineers from the Israeli military had anchored the pier to the beach, he said, adding that there were no American military personnel on the ground in Gaza.

The fixed pier and floating dock system, which President Joe Biden announced during his State of the Union address in early March, is part of a makeshift effort to stave off a possible famine in Gaza, where Israel’s military assault has shut off a number of crossings that are crucial for supplies of food, fuel and other aid.

The fixed pier was operational for a week before heavy winds and high seas from a storm broke a large section of the causeway apart on May 25.

Before and after pictures of damage to Trident pier in Gaza
Satellite images of the Trident pier off Gaza on May 26, 28, and 29.Maxar

Four Army vessels operating there went aground, injuring three service members. Cooper said one had been evacuated to Brooke Army Medical Center in Texas and remains in critical condition.

In the time that it was operational, Cooper said, around 2 million pounds of aid was delivered, accounting for about 30% of all aid delivered to Gaza during that time.

Supplies were transferred from the floating dock offshore to the fixed pier, and the aid was then driven by truck to warehouses in the enclave. However, some aid failed to reach its intended destinations as civilians desperate for food stormed the trucks and ransacked them of their cargo.

Operations at the reconnected pier will be ramped up soon with a goal to get 1 million pounds of food and other supplies moving through the pier into Gaza every two days, Cooper said.

He added that when the U.S. dock and pier system is back up and running there will be 15 different vessels of different sizes taking part in the operation delivering food, shelter and medical care.

Aid airdrops will also resume in the coming days, Cooper said, adding that they had been halted because of Israeli military operations in northern Gaza. These have been criticized as both expensive and ineffective, especially when it is compared to delivering it through land crossings controlled by Egypt and Israel.

The announcement came three days after an independent group of experts from the Famine Early Warning Systems Network said that it was possible that famine was already underway in northern Gaza.

“It is possible, if not likely,” the group said, although they added that the war, now in its eighth month and restrictions on humanitarian access had impeded the data collection to prove it.

A Palestinian girl watches as others check a U.N.-school housing displaced people that was hit during Israeli bombardment in Nuseirat, central Gaza, on June 6, 2024.
A Palestinian girl watches Wednesday as others check a school operated by the United Nations agency for refugees in Nuseirat, central Gaza, after it was hit overnight by an Israeli airstrike, killing dozens, according to local health officials.Bashar Taleb / AFP – Getty Images

Three things have to occur for an area to be considered in famine: 20% of households have an extreme lack of food, or are essentially starving; at least 30% of the children suffer from acute malnutrition or wasting, meaning they’re too thin for their height; and two adults or four children per every 10,000 people are dying daily of hunger and its complications.

Concerns about deadly hunger have been repeatedly raised by aid agencies and last month Cindy McCain, the head of the United Nations World Food Program told NBC’s “Meet The Press” that northern Gaza had entered “full blown famine.” However experts at the agency later said she was expressing a personal opinion.

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