US aid to Gaza stalls after temporary pier breaks amid rough seas | Loop

U.S. aid efforts to Gaza have suffered an embarrassing setback after a temporary pier built by the military broke down amid rough seas, the Pentagon said Tuesday.

The $320 million dock was intended to provide a crucial supply line for aid deliveries by sea to reach starving Palestinians and alleviate a humanitarian catastrophe. Now the effort is on hold for at least a week.

Sabrina Singh, deputy press secretary for the Department of Defense, told reporters that high seas and a North African weather system had caused a section of the pier to dislodge Tuesday morning.

The dock will be removed and sent to the southern Israeli city of Ashdod, where it will be repaired by US Central Command (Centcom).

“The reconstruction and repair of the pier will take at least more than a week and once completed, it will need to be re-anchored to the Gaza coast,” Singh said.

“Therefore, once the repair and assembly of the pier is completed, the intention is to re-anchor the temporary pier to the coast of Gaza and resume humanitarian aid to the people who need it most.”

The White House insisted that the pier remains viable as a complement to aid routes. National Security Council spokesman John Kirby told reporters: “It was never intended to supplant what can be done on the ground with trucks and open those crossings.

“We said it from the beginning. We also said it’s going to be difficult. It’s been hard. The weather plays a role. “Mother Nature has a say here and the Eastern Mediterranean, even in summer, can be a pretty tough place and that’s what’s happening right now.”

But Kirby added: “Could it be a force multiplier? Can it be added? Absolutely, and I think so far they’ve received over a thousand metric tons just from the temporary dock, which, considering the weather, considering the complexity of doing it that way: the multi-node shutdown that you have to do to move. from ship to dock, from truck to ground – still an impressive record so far.”

The damage is the latest setback for the pier, which opened two weeks ago, and will likely be seized upon by Joe Biden’s critics as a waste of taxpayer money.

Centcom said Saturday that four U.S. military ships supporting the dock broke loose from their moorings and ran aground in rough seas. Two of them ran aground in Gaza, while the other two washed up on the coast of Israel, 30 miles south of Tel Aviv. One has been recovered and the other three will be returned within 48 hours, Singh said.

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Biden had said in March that the pier would be built to ease restrictions imposed by Israel on the delivery of overland aid to Gaza. Israel has imposed a siege on Gaza that has deprived the territory’s 2.4 million people of most drinking water, food, medicine and fuel.

Centcom said that as of Friday, 1,005 metric tons of aid had been delivered from the sea to the beach transfer point, with 903 metric tons distributed from the transfer point to the U.N. warehouse.

Gaza is suffering its bloodiest war, which broke out after Hamas’ attack on Israel on October 7 killed more than 1,170 people, mostly civilians. Israel’s retaliatory offensive has killed at least 35,800 people in Gaza, mostly women and children, according to the Health Ministry.