Written by 21:43 World

Rough Seas Set Back U.S.-Made Gaza Pier Yet Again

The U.S. military said on Friday that it would be temporarily moving a pier that was built off the coast of Gaza by the United States to deliver aid to the war-torn enclave, where world health authorities say there is “catastrophic hunger” and malnutrition, to keep it from being damaged in expected rough seas. Only a week ago, the military said that the pier had been repaired and reattached to the Gaza shore after breaking apart in turbulence.

“The decision to temporarily relocate the pier is not made lightly but is necessary to ensure the temporary pier can continue to deliver aid in the future,” the U.S. Central Command said in a post on social media, stating that the pier would be towed to Israel. The post added that the pier would be “rapidly re-anchored” off the coast of Gaza when the expected turbulence passed.

This relocation is the latest blow to the U.S. effort to facilitate aid deliveries by sea to Gaza.

President Biden announced the construction of the pier in March, the U.S. military worked on it in April and it was anchored off the coast of Gaza in mid-May as the flow of food and supplies through land borders had largely come to a halt following Israel’s incursion into Rafah, the southernmost city in the enclave. Shipments of aid by sea began immediately after the pier became operational, but fell far short of what humanitarian groups said was needed to meet the staggering levels of hunger and deprivation in Gaza.

The pier was damaged by rough seas in late May and had to be taken out of service. It was repaired earlier this month but only intermittently functioning. The latest announcement that it would pause operations came days after a Pentagon spokeswoman, Sabrina Singh, had said that the pier was working again after a break “due to high sea states.”

Since May, about 7.7 million pounds of aid have passed through the maritime corridor for distribution in Gaza, the U.S. Central Command said in its post on Friday. But how much of these supplies are getting to Gazans remains unclear.

Delivery from the pier to warehouses in Gaza is also facing obstacles. Cindy McCain, the executive director of the World Food Program, said on Sunday that the agency’s work near the pier had been put on pause because, she claimed, some of its facilities were hit during Israel’s rescue of four hostages on June 8, an operation that killed scores of Palestinians, including women and children.

“I’m concerned about the safety of our people,” Ms. McCain told CBS News. The World Food Program, a U.N. agency, did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Friday.


Last modified: 15 June 2024