Second UAE aid convoy of the week enters Gaza

Lorries carrying more than 240 tonnes of supplies, including tents and medical kits, enter through the Rafah border crossing

More humanitarian supplies sent under the UAE's Gallant Knight 3 operation crosses from Egypt into Gaza on Wednesday. Victor Besa / The National
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Eleven more lorries carrying humanitarian aid from the UAE entered Gaza on Wednesday as part of the second convoy to pass through the Rafah border crossing from Egypt since it reopened this week.

The lorries were carrying more than 240 tonnes of humanitarian supplies, including tents and medical kits, as well as equipment and medicine for the Emirati field hospital in Rafah.

Aid efforts have been stepped up over the past few days after concerns about conditions across the border and as the Israeli military prepares to launch a ground offensive in Rafah city in the southern Gaza Strip.

“We had hoped that the border could be reopened on a daily basis but we are facing some challenges from the Israeli side in processing the inspection of the trucks in a timely manner,” an official working with the Egyptian Red Crescent told The National at the border.

More than one million Palestinians are crammed into Rafah, having taken refuge after fleeing from intense Israeli bombardment and military attacks further north in the enclave.

Humanitarian groups have warned an Israeli ground offensive would turn Gaza's southernmost city "into a graveyard" and heighten the looming risk of famine.

"The consequences of a full-scale assault on Rafah are truly unimaginable," said Avril Benoit, executive director of Doctors Without Borders (MSF) in the US.

"Carrying out a military offensive there would turn it into a graveyard," Ms Benoit said at a press conference called by MSF, Refugees International, Oxfam, Amnesty International and other humanitarian groups.

Under the UAE's Gallant Knight 3 operation to assist beleaguered Palestinians in Gaza, more than 400 lorries of aid have been sent into the territory, including 14 on Monday.

About 15,810 tonnes of supplies have been sent on board 165 cargo flights and two ships, while the Emirati field hospital has dealt with more than 5,400 medical cases since it was set up in November.

The freight includes five bakery units currently awaiting delivery to Gaza from the Egyptian port city of Al Arish.

“The bakeries provided by the UAE will, when operational, meet the daily needs of more than 420,000 people in Gaza,” Abdulaziz Al Kadhi, an official with the Emirates Red Crescent, told The National. "The production capacity of each bakery is about 17,500 loaves per hour.

“The UAE will be responsible for providing flour, diesel and other materials to ensure the operation of the five bakeries 24 hours a day.

"The UAE will also pay the salaries of the people who will operate and supervise the bakeries in Gaza."

The Emirates has also set up six desalination plants capable of providing Gaza residents with 1.2 million gallons of potable water daily.

Updated: February 21, 2024, 3:27 PM