Second shipment with more than 300 tons of food for Gaza leaves Cyprus port

 – Ships carrying 332 tons of food for Gaza left Cyprus’s Larnaca port on Saturday in a convoy which will reach the besieged enclave early next week, authorities said.

It is the second shipment this month after Israel eased a 17-year naval blockade on the Gaza Strip to allow aid in from Cyprus, sourced by U.S. charity World Central Kitchen (WCK) for starving Palestinians.

The aid will be taken to Gaza on a cargo ship and a barge towed by a salvage vessel, along with a tugboat carrying a support team in a journey which will take about 60 hours, a Cypriot official told Reuters.

Cypriot authorities have established, in cooperation with Israel, a maritime corridor to facilitate pre-screened cargoes arriving directly in Gaza.

WCK, which has been active in Gaza for months, arranged the mission with Spain’s Open Arms charity, with financing mainly from the UAE and support from Cypriot authorities.

On its first mission earlier in March, it built a makeshift jetty from rubble to offload almost 200 tons of food in the enclave, which does not have any port facilities. Saturday’s convoy includes two forklifts and a crane to assist with future marine deliveries, as well as a team to operate the crane.

Separately, the United States plans to construct a floating pier off Gaza to receive aid. The target for completion is May 1, but it could be ready by around April 15, Cypriot President Nikos Christodoulides said late on Friday, citing briefings with U.S. officials earlier in the week.

The United Nations has warned that famine is imminent in the northern Gaza Strip, where 300,000 people are trapped by fighting. More than half of Gaza’s population of 2.3 million could face famine by July.

Aid agencies say food delivered by sea to Gaza, though welcome, cannot meet people’s needs and they have urged Israel to allow more aid to arrive by land.

U.N. officials have accused Israel of blocking humanitarian supplies to Gaza. Israeli officials reject those accusations and say the delivery of aid once inside the territory is the responsibility of U.N. and humanitarian agencies. – Reuters