UAE announces departure of second maritime aid shipment for Gaza

World Central Kitchen and Open Arms, in partnership with the Emirates, are scaling up deliveries into Gaza

The Open Arms vessel is part of a three-ship flotilla carrying food aid to Gaza. AFP
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Three ships and a barge have set sail from Cyprus carrying hundreds of tonnes of food destined for northern Gaza.

This second shipment has enough food to prepare more than one million meals. It also includes ready-to-eat items such as rice, pasta, flour, legumes, canned vegetables and proteins.

The historic opening of the maritime route to Gaza is conducted by World Central Kitchen and Open Arms, in close partnership with the United Arab Emirates and the support of Cyprus.

By opening the maritime aid corridor with Open Arms and Cyprus, the UAE and World Central Kitchen are able to scale up humanitarian efforts in Gaza, Wam reported.

To date, World Central Kitchen has provided more than 43 million meals to Palestinians facing starvation.

World Central Kitchen's Juan Camilo, in a post on X, said the boats are going right now to the coast of Gaza with tonnes of food for the people.

"We have flour, rice ... dates," he said, stating they would be arriving in the next few days.

"We are also doing air drops," said Mr Camilo. "There is not enough aid arriving into Gaza."

More than 1.9 million people – 90 per cent of the enclave's population – have been displaced since Israel launched its offensive on Gaza last year after a Hamas attack killed about 1,200 people.

More than 32,400 have been killed by Israeli forces and aid deliveries into Gaza have been severely curtailed, with aircraft now carrying out aid drops.

The UAE has transported 26,000 tonnes of urgent supplies, including food, water and medical items, delivered through 229 flights, 19 airdrops, 1,035 lorries and three ships.

The UN Security Council has demanded an immediate ceasefire in the Gaza war and the US warned Israel against a ground offensive in Rafah, saying it was “not the way to do it”.

The UN has said the aid delivered so far is only a small fraction of what is needed and much more was required immediately.

“The choice is clear: surge or starvation,” said Walid Ibrahim, network co-ordinator for the World Food Programme-managed UN Humanitarian Response Depot told The National last week.

“We need Israel to allow more routes into Gaza, including from the north, and use of Ashdod port.

“We need a humanitarian ceasefire.”

Mr Ibrahim also warned famine was “imminent” in the north of Gaza.

“Parents are not eating for days at a time so their children can,” he said.

“Some 70 per cent of the population in the North is facing catastrophic hunger.”

Emirates Red Crescent aid ship to Gaza - in pictures

Updated: March 31, 2024, 9:45 AM