“Awe just delivered two boxes from the barge”, announced ‘chef’ José Andrés, from the World Central Kitchen (WCK), on the social network X.

The head of the non-governmental organization (NGO) added: “But there is still more to download in the next few hours.”

After three days of sailing from Cyprus, the “Open Arms” ship arrived today off the coast of Gaza, in what was the first trip on the humanitarian maritime corridor promoted by the European Union (EU), with the aim of alleviating hunger in the enclave. Palestinians in the face of little aid arriving after more than five months of war between Israel and the Islamist group Hamas.

The Spanish ship carries 200 tons of flour, rice, lentils, chickpeas, tuna and other basic products that will be converted into a million meals for the inhabitants of the enclave.

“Today, World Central Kitchen aims to provide 37 million meals in Gaza,” said José Andrés, on the social network X.

The NGO said it was unloading “desperately needed food”, after humanitarian groups and the UN warned days ago that neither sea aid nor air aid can replace food arriving by land.

For its part, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), the country that collaborated with the NGO and Cyprus in this maritime corridor, confirmed the “success” of the arrival of humanitarian aid to the north of the Strip and praised the “vital efforts of leaders from Cyprus, World Central Kitchen and international partners to strengthen the humanitarian response.”

However, he recalled that “the exacerbation of the humanitarian catastrophe in the Gaza Strip requires a collective international approach” to prevent the civilian population from suffering even more and to sustainably ensure the delivery of “urgent, safe, unhindered” aid.

The United Nations Palestinian refugee agency (UNRWA) warned on Thursday that “while any increase in aid to Gaza is vital, it is land entry that allows for a large-scale response.”

“Humanitarian actors have stated that deliveries by sea and air are much more expensive and ineffective than sending trucks over land,” he added.

A second shipment of 400 tons of food, held in the Cypriot port of Larnaca, is expected to arrive in the coming days, Juan Camilo Jimenez, WCK’s response director, told Spanish news agency EFE on Thursday.

Due to the war in Gaza, which began after Hamas’ unprecedented attack on Israeli soil on October 7, 2023, 85% of Gaza’s population was displaced and 60% of infrastructure, according to the UN, was damaged or completely destroyed.

A large part of the population suffers from hunger and at least 27 people, mostly children, have died in the north of the enclave alone due to acute malnutrition, according to the Gaza Ministry of Health, controlled by Hamas, in power in the enclave since 2007.

In total, the death toll is around 31,500 and there are more than 73,400 injured, 72% of whom are women and children, according to local authorities.

Read Also: UN warns it will take years to clean Gaza of debris and unexploded weapons

Source: https://www.noticiasaominuto.com/mundo/2522152/primeiro-navio-de-ajuda-humanitaria-comecou-a-descarregar-em-gaza

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