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Five die after airdropped aid falls on them in Gaza
Gazans queuing for food. Photo Courtesy: UNRWA

Five die after airdropped aid falls on them in Gaza

| @indiablooms | 09 Mar 2024, 10:20 am

At least five people died and 10 others were injured after they were hit by airdropped aid packages in Gaza City's Al Shati camp, media reports said on Saturday.

Journalist Khader Al Zaanoun told CNN he witnessed the aid packages falling from planes over the Al Shati camp on Friday (March 8, 2024) but could not confirm which nation was behind the airdrop.

Muhammad Al-Sheikh, Head of Emergency Care Department at Al Shifa Medical Complex in Gaza City confirmed to the American news channel that five people were killed in the incident.

The airdrop reportedly went wrong after the parachute on a pallet malfunctioned.

Mahmoud Basal, spokesman for the Palestinian Civil Defense in Gaza, said in a statement quoted by Xinhua that the aid was dropped in an unprofessional and unprecedented manner on the heads and houses of residents in the northwest area of Gaza City.

Several countries, including Egypt, Jordan, the United Arab Emirates, France, the Netherlands, and the United States, have been conducting joint operations for about a week to drop food aid to the strip.

New maritime aid lifeline in Gaza

An international maritime aid corridor to Gaza could be in operation as early as Sunday (March 10, 2024), according to the head of the European Commission, working closely with the UN’s Senior Humanitarian Coordinator and other international partners.

In a joint statement released on Friday, the Commission, Cyprus, United Arab Emirates, United States and the United Kingdom announced their intent to open a new corridor in coordination with the UN’s Sigrid Kaag.

The UN coordinator has a mandate from the Security Council to facilitate, boost and monitor the arrival of aid to more than two million Gazans in need. A technical team from her office is now based in Cyprus, whose government has led the development of the new mechanism to ship aid from the Mediterranean island to Gaza.

The joint release said that “the dedicated efforts of the UAE to mobilize support for the initiative” would soon see an initial trial shipment make its way to the Gaza coast. European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said it could happen as early as this weekend.

US pier pledge

The Cypriot Government said it would soon convene senior officials to discuss accelerating the new sea route, acknowledging the US announcement on Thursday (March 8, 2024) night from President Joe Biden of a new temporary pier for distributing aid on the Gaza coast. All these efforts “will be closely coordinated with the Government of Israel,” said the statement.

Taking questions from correspondents in New York, UN Spokesperson Stéphane Dujarric said Kaag had been in close contact with Cyprus “and she's been involved in discussions on the initiative as an additional access route to Gaza, in line with her mandate".

The operational details of the specific maritime shipments or the building of the dock or of the port are being managed by the partners to the initiative, he added.

Questioned about the potential effectiveness of the US plan and maritime aid routes, Dujarric said there was “no alternative to a larger scale deployment of aid by land” and commercial traffic, although aid entering by other means was welcome.

The international coalition planning the maritime corridor said that the delivery of assistance to those who need it in Gaza by sea “will be complex” and must be part of a sustained effort to increase the flow of aid and commercial goods “through all possible routes”.

“Together, we must all do more to ensure aid gets to people who desperately need it,” the statement concluded.

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