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First ship carrying food aid arrives in Gaza

A ship carrying food aid arrived on Friday in Gaza. A tugboat pulled the first shipment of 200 tons of food from nonprofits.
Posted at 5:55 PM, Mar 15, 2024

In what appears to be the first step in the opening of a "maritime corridor" of aid to Gaza, a ship and tugboat arrived just offshore on Friday, before a smaller barge brought the desperately needed food to shore.

One man waiting on the Gaza shore said, "I will take the aid for my children. I want to feed them because they are dying of hunger."

The ship — carrying 200 tons of rice, flour, canned beans and other food — left Cyprus several days ago. It is part of a partnership between the Spanish nonprofit Open Arms and the U.S.-based World Central Kitchen, which was founded by Chef Jose Andres. 

"I'm very hopeful that we can be bringing millions and millions of meals daily," Andres said.

World Central Kitchen currently has more than 60 community kitchens operating in Gaza, but food is hard to come by there.

It's called "Operation Safeena," and the effort to get food aid onshore involves the construction of a jetty, made out of rubble from Gaza, which is now stretching out into the ocean, as seen in satellite images.

"Let's hope that what we have inside Gaza at our disposal is enough to build a simple, but good enough jetty, that allow us to download the first cargo," Andres said, "and that from that jetty can we start implementing a more robust, even bigger jetty that becomes a bigger port that then allow us to bring bigger boats."

All of the land routes into Gaza remain blocked by Israel. Multiple countries, including the U.S., have parachuted large crates of food aid into the strip. However, it's not enough food for the millions of people there, who the United Nations said are on the brink of starvation. 

Chef Andres said that is where the sea route comes in.

"The biggest failure will be not try," he said.

A second ship is already on tap to bring in more food to Gaza in the coming days.

At least 20 Palestinians killed at aid distribution site in Gaza
Palestinians at a market next to a destroyed residential building.

At least 20 Palestinians killed at aid distribution site in Gaza

Israel has denied claims that its military is responsible for the incident, saying Palestinian gunmen opened fire on the crowd.