Port for Gaza aid could take 60 days to build, Pentagon says

More than one million Palestinians a step away from famine, UN has warned

US plan to build temporary pier in Gaza will take several weeks

US plan to build temporary pier in Gaza will take several weeks
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The Pentagon on Friday said it will take up to 60 days to deploy the US forces and resources needed to construct a floating causeway off Gaza that will be used to deliver aid to hundreds of thousands of Palestinians facing starvation.

President Joe Biden on Thursday announced the construction of a temporary pier to bring food into Gaza as Israel slows road deliveries to a trickle and airdrops cannot begin to meet the desperate need for assistance.

“We anticipate that it will take over 1,000 US forces to participate in building this capability,” Pentagon Press Secretary Brig Gen Pat Ryder said.

“As far as time frame … several weeks, likely up to 60 days in order to deploy the forces and construct the causeway and pier.”

One quarter of the population of the Gaza Strip – more than half a million people – is one step away from famine, the UN warned last month.

Brig Gen Ryder said much of the “floating causeway pier” is currently stationed on the East Coast of the US but deployment orders have already been given.

“We are moving out now,” he said.

Once up and running, the pier will have the capability to operate round the clock and offload as many as two million meals daily.

Brig Gen Ryder stressed no US troops will land in Gaza, and the floating causeway can be pushed on to a beach from the sea.

Details of who would be onshore to secure the causeway were still under discussion, he said.

Mr Biden told reporters that Israel would provide security for the temporary port.

Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin on Thursday spoke to his Israeli counterpart Yoav Gallant and urged him to allow more aid into Gaza overland.

“He stressed the critical need to surge aid through all possible entry points and ensure the safe distribution of aid once delivered to Gaza,” the Pentagon said in a statement.

It was not immediately clear how the US plans would engage with European and UAE plans to open a sea corridor to deliver humanitarian aid.

Updated: March 08, 2024, 11:54 PM