US Official Says Aid From Gaza Pier Not Reaching Citizens

Gaza aid distributed from a floating pier constructed by the United States is not reaching the civilian population, according to an American official in the region. Pentagon spokesperson Maj. Gen. Pat Ryder explained that much of the aid is stolen en route to civilian populations and that none of the 569 tons initially dispersed made it safely to its destination.

The process begins with a food delivery from the US military to the floating pier, anchored near a Gaza beach. From there, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) pick it up and take it on the next leg of its journey to designated warehouses, from where it is transferred to populated regions on trucks. Major Ryder said that most of the aid was stolen at that point.

Reports from the region indicate that very little aid is reaching Palestinians via any routes because the Rafah crossing, a vital assistance line, was closed by the Israeli Defense Force (IDF) as it prepared to launch a military ground offensive in the city. United Nations aid official Edem Wosornu said the situation in the Gaza Strip is “hell on earth” and made worse by the closure of the Rafah crossing.

Israel, however, said it had no choice but to launch a military offensive in Rafah, as it is the final Hamas stronghold in Gaza. Gilad Erdan said the Jewish state had made all possible provisions for the safe removal of civilians from the area.

The UN has announced it will plan new routes for US aid after Palestinians rushed trucks and stole the contents. The thefts occurred while UN contractors drove over a dozen vehicles loaded with food and medicine to a World Food Programme warehouse in Deir El Balah, central Gaza. The UN said the trucks were “intercepted” en route, and all contents were taken.

Major Ryder told reporters that any new plans must prioritize the safety of aid workers, and “we’ll continue to work closely with the international community on that front.”