Aid ship leaves Cyprus for Gaza in pilot program

Nearly 200 tons of food are heading for the coastal enclave.

JNS Staff Report
March 12, 2024

A ship carrying nearly 200 tons of food for Gaza departed Larnaca port in Cyprus early Tuesday as part of a pilot program to provide humanitarian aid to the coastal enclave via the Mediterranean Sea.

U.S.-based World Central Kitchen, a major donor to Gaza relief efforts, said that it was delivering rice, flour, legumes, canned vegetables and proteins packed onto a barge being towed by a ship belonging to the Spanish Open Arms aid group.

The United Arab Emirates is providing most of the funding for the mission and the Cypriot Foreign Ministry is assisting in the effort.

World Central Kitchen said that it was building a temporary landing jetty in Gaza from destroyed buildings and rubble from the over five-month-old war between Israel and the Hamas terrorist group.

“Our goal is to establish a maritime highway of boats and barges stocked with millions of meals continuously headed towards Gaza,” World Central Kitchen founder José Andrés and chief executive officer Erin Gore said in a statement.

In an X post, Andres said that “construction of the Jetty is well underway….we may fail, but the biggest failure will be not trying!”

According to World Central Kitchen, it has another 500 tons of food in Cyprus ready for delivery, with more ships docked for the 200-mile journey. According to Reuters, the trip normally takes about 15 hours but could take longer, possibly up to two days, with the heavy tow barge.

According to World Central Kitchen, since the war started in October, it has delivered more than 35 million meals, dispatched more than 1,400 trucks across the Rafah crossing from Egypt and opened more than 60 community kitchens across Gaza.

The initiative is separate from President Joe Biden’s announcement last week during his State of the Union address that the U.S. is establishing a temporary pier to increase the flow of humanitarian aid into the Strip.

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