Wed. Apr 17th, 2024

A second cargo of food aid poised to depart by sea from Cyprus to Gaza is anticipated, as announced by Cyprus’s President. This declaration follows the arrival of the first aid shipment in the besieged Palestinian enclave overnight, comprising almost 200 tons of food. This marks the inception of a new aid route aimed at supporting the devastated Gaza Strip, reeling from five months of conflict.

President Nikos Christodoulides confirmed the initiation of the first ship’s return journey to Cyprus and emphasized readiness to dispatch the second vessel. The latter, laden with 240 tons of aid, is currently moored at Larnaca port, awaiting clearance for departure.

The mission, orchestrated by US-based charity World Central Kitchen (WCK) in collaboration with the UAE and Spanish charity Open Arms, with support from the Cypriot government, entails the shipment of pallets of canned goods and bulk products. Additionally, the second vessel is equipped with essential machinery, including two forklifts and a crane, to facilitate future maritime deliveries to Gaza.

Open Arms, the entity providing the ship, expressed optimism regarding the newly established corridor, envisioning it as a crucial pathway to alleviate hunger, mitigate suffering, and reinstate humanity among the civilian population. Notably, during the initial mission, aid was offloaded onto a makeshift jetty constructed by WCK from the remnants of destroyed buildings.

Concerns about the humanitarian crisis in Gaza persist, with the main UN agency operating in the region reporting alarming statistics. A staggering one in three children under the age of two in northern Gaza is now acutely malnourished, signaling an imminent threat of famine.

The dire situation in Gaza stems from Israel’s extensive air and ground campaign, initiated following Hamas’ attack on October 7th, resulting in the displacement of a significant portion of the enclave’s 2.3 million population and exacerbating the urgent need for food and essential supplies.

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