Egypt's Al Arish warehouses bursting at seams as Gaza aid piles up

Israel is allowing only a trickle of aid into the enclave, putting pressure on storage facilities

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The northern Egyptian city of Al Arish has almost run out of storage for aid for Gaza, which has faced an Israeli onslaught since October 7, The National has learnt.

Aid arriving at Al Arish airport, the gateway to the Rafah land crossing, is being stored at sites operated by the Egyptian Red Crescent, an airport volunteer said.

A few days into the Israel-Gaza war, the airport’s storage began to overflow with aid, prompting officials to look at other locations, an NGO worker said.

These storage units have a capacity of about 1,000 tonnes, Egyptian local media outlets estimate.

By the start of the conflict's second week, aid workers in Al Arish began to use the city’s football stadium for storage.

When that got filled up, officials looked to a nearby closed sports court.

After that, aid workers began using the large storage room at Al Arish’s main granary, which has now also been filled to capacity, the worker said.

A local businessman has also donated a warehouse to the city’s aid efforts.

The city’s storage facilities were only used to house aid that had arrived on planes.

Aid enters Rafah crossing to Gaza

Aid enters Rafah crossing to Gaza

The sizeable amount of aid that has been sent from inside Egypt is being stored in the lorries that can be seen lined up in various parts of the city, parked under bridges or in car parks, Al Arish residents told The National.

Aid lorries have continued to queue up outside the Rafah border crossing since the start of the siege on Gaza because they have not been allowed to unload their cargo.

Aid workers in the city, facing the arrival of more shipments, are now negotiating with local businesses and factory owners for space.

Another idea being floated is to use some of the tents that have been sent in the aid shipments to house refugees or serve as field hospitals.

Since Saturday, the Israeli army has allowed a maximum of 20 lorries into the enclave each day.

Before the war, Gazans were receiving between 100 and 500 aid lorries a day, according to several humanitarian organisations.

The death toll in Gaza following the start of Israel’s barrage surpassed 7,000 on Thursday, the Gaza Health Ministry has said.

Warehouses in Egyptian city bursting at seams as Gaza aid piles up

Warehouses in Egyptian city bursting at seams as Gaza aid piles up
Updated: October 28, 2023, 3:25 PM