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An aid ship is set to depart from Cyprus for Gaza


An aid ship carrying vital humanitarian goods is scheduled to depart from Cyprus for Gaza this weekend.


The Spanish ship Open Arms intends to take advantage of a recently opened shipping route when it sets sail from Cyprus, the closest EU nation to Gaza.


It's still being determined where the ship will land when it gets to Gaza because there isn't a working port, and the waters are shallow.


According to the UN, children in the Strip are starving to death, and a fifth of the population is at risk of starvation.


The ship, owned by the Spanish non-profit organization Open Arms, is scheduled to arrive in Gaza within several days.


According to Open Arms founder Oscar Camps, it will tow a barge filled with 200 tonnes of food donated by the US charity World Central Kitchen, as reported by the Associated Press.


According to Mr Camps, the news agency, the ship is scheduled to leave Cyprus' Larnaca port this weekend and will travel for two to three days to arrive at an unidentified site off the shore of Gaza.


Although he said he was "not concerned about security," he added that the last mile of the voyage, which is approximately 216 nautical miles in total, would be "the most complicated operation."


According to him, a group from the World Central Kitchen has been constructing a pier at the location to accept the assistance. The organization will be able to distribute the food because it has 60 kitchens spread over Gaza.

A post on Open Arms' X account said, "What seemed like an insurmountable challenge is now on the verge of realization."

"Our tugboat stands prepared to embark at a moment's notice, laden with tonnes of food, water, and vital supplies for Palestinian civilians."


World Central Kitchen stated that it had been waiting for the shipping route to open for weeks to prepare for the relief expedition.


The head of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, made the announcement about the maritime corridor on Friday while visiting Cyprus.


That was the day after US President Joe Biden declared that the US intended to construct a makeshift floating port near Gaza's coastline.


Subsequently, the Pentagon stated that construction would require roughly 1,000 troops, none of whom would set foot on land, and may take up to 60 days to finish.


According to US officials, the port can accept large ships that bring supplies, including food, water, medication, and makeshift shelters. The first supplies will go through Cyprus, subject to security inspections by Israeli officials.


According to a Pentagon spokeswoman, the dock might help deliver up to 2 million meals daily.


Since neither Mr Biden nor Ms Von der Leyen disclosed the other's intentions, whether still being determined the EU's maritime corridor and the US' temporary pier would cooperate is unknown.


Food supplies to northern Gaza were halted last month by the World Food Programme due to the "complete chaos and violence" that their convoys had to undergo, according to the group. The Gaza Strip has become a more dangerous and challenging place to provide food.


Many countries have resorted to airdrops because land deliveries are nearly impossible; nevertheless, due to the extreme circumstances in Gaza, airdrops prove to be an ineffective means of delivering goods to the population.


Additionally, on Friday, there were allegations that a falling aid shipment had killed five people because its parachute had not opened correctly.


Following Hamas's strikes on Israel on October 7, which resulted in around 1,200 deaths and 253 hostages, Israel's military, initiated an air and ground campaign in the Gaza Strip.


Since then, more than 30,800 Palestinians have died in Gaza, according to the health ministry operated by Hamas in the region.


The UN has warned that hunger in Gaza is "almost inevitable" as a result of the conflict, which has exacerbated the humanitarian crisis.


A senior UN assistance official issued a warning this week, stating that at least 576,000 people, or 25% of the population, in the Gaza Strip are experiencing catastrophic levels of food insecurity and that one in six children under the age of two in the north are acutely malnourished.


According to Save the Children, the children in Gaza "cannot wait" for the time it might take to construct a temporary port to eat. The organization applauded recent international efforts to increase aid to the region.


The charity said in a statement, "They are already dying from malnutrition and saving their lives is a matter of hours or days - not weeks."


Medical without Borders called the US proposal for a makeshift pier a "glaring distraction from the real problem" and urged Israel to make supplies easier to reach.


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