Gaza War: The United States says the floating aid dock will operate “within days”

Comment on the photo, The US military published photos earlier this month showing the pier being built off the coast of Gaza

  • author, Paul Adams
  • Role, BBC News
  • Report from Jerusalem

US officials say a floating dock designed to increase the amount of aid reaching Gaza will be operational “within days.”

In a briefing for reporters, USAID Response Director Dan Dyckhaus said construction of the pier — known as the Joint Onshore Logistics System (JLOTS) — had been completed.

Hundreds of tons of aid have arrived in Cyprus, where they are inspected before the aid is loaded onto ships for delivery to the dock.

Vice Admiral Brad Cooper, deputy commander of US Central Command, said commercial ships would collect the pallets from Cyprus and deliver them to a floating platform moored several kilometers off the coast of Gaza.

Smaller US military ships, capable of carrying between five and 15 truckloads of aid, then transfer it to a floating bridge, several hundred meters long, anchored on the beach in Gaza.

Trucks will drive along the bridge before delivering aid at the marshaling yard on the beach.

Vice Admiral Cooper said that the United Nations, primarily the World Food Programme, would be responsible for distributing the aid.

In a separate statementNearly 100 tons of British aid, consisting of 8,400 “shelter cover kits” (temporary shelters made of plastic sheeting) left Cyprus on Wednesday, bound for the temporary dock, the Foreign Office said.

“We are leading international efforts with the United States and Cyprus to establish a maritime aid corridor. The first shipment of British aid from Cyprus today to the temporary dock off Gaza represents an important moment in increasing this flow,” Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said.

UN officials say there has been significant coordination with the United States about operating JLOTS, but they have persistent concerns about how it will operate, whether it will bring what is needed to Gaza, and whether it will prove safe for aid. Workers and Gazans alike.

Some privately describe it as a high-tech distraction from what is really needed: properly functioning aid crossings and a safe distribution system throughout the Gaza Strip.

US officials who briefed reporters stressed that the joint agreement aims to enhance existing efforts to bring aid to Gaza, not replace it.

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