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Challenges Abound, But Aid Moves Into Gaza

While 569 metric tons of aid have landed off the Defense Department's Joint Logistics, Over-the-Shore pier in Gaza, getting the aid to the Palestinian people has been a problem, officials said today.

Pentagon Press Secretary Air Force Maj. Gen. Pat Ryder told reporters that aid is making it ashore and the amount of aid should quickly increase as the process continues.

A truck carrying cargo of aid supplies rolls off a causeway.
On the Move
A truck carrying humanitarian aid moves off the causeway in Gaza.
Photo By: Courtesy of U.S. Central Command
VIRIN: 240521-O-D0439-001B

The problem with delivery comes as desperate Palestinians have been mobbing the trucks after they leave the marshalling yards. Ryder said there have been discussions among the U.S., Israel and the United Nations on efforts "to identify alternative routes for the safe movement of staff and cargo."  

The shipments from the marshalling yards were halted but movements from the assembly area have resumed today.  

The situation is complicated. Countries and agencies that want to use the maritime corridor to get aid to the Palestinians ship that aid to Cyprus. There it is inspected, palletized and placed on a ship that takes it to the floating pier off the coast of Gaza. From there it's broken down and taken to a causeway for landing. 

Once on shore, the aid moves to non-governmental organizations that will get the aid to warehouses where it can be distributed to the Palestinians who need it.

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Ryder said this is a "crawl, walk, run" process and all those involved expect the amount of aid to increase in the days ahead. The maritime corridor is one more tool to get lifesaving aid to Palestinians in Gaza, the general said. "It's not the only delivery mechanism by which to get aid into Gaza," he said. "We're going to continue to make this a viable avenue of approach to be able to get aid to humanitarian organizations that will then provide that for delivery."

"What we're focused on is how we can work to ensure that the Palestinian people get the aid," he said. "Always, in any operation of that complexity, there are going to be challenges and hurdles that have to be overcome. That's what we specialize in overcoming and that's what we're going to do. We're going to make it happen and we're going to get this food to the Palestinian people. 

The area is a combat zone, which makes a complicated operation that much more complex. Security has to be a consideration."

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