Devastation in Gaza as Israel wages war on Hamas

A World Central Kitchen team member works to load a boat with food aid bound for Gaza in Cyprus on Thursday.
A World Central Kitchen team member works to load a boat with food aid bound for Gaza in Cyprus on Thursday. World Central Kitchen/Reuters

Nongovernmental organization World Central Kitchen, which organized the first aid ship to Gaza, confirmed to CNN Friday that the first pallet of aid has been offloaded successfully into the besieged enclave. 

A spokesperson for the nonprofit, founded by chef José Andrés, said the pallet was offloaded after the ship’s barge was connected successfully to the purpose-built jetty in central Gaza. The jetty was rapidly assembled by workers who began construction on or after March 10, according to satellite images provided to CNN by Maxar on Thursday. 

The Israeli military completed a security inspection on the ship and the aid it was carrying when it arrived, the Israel Defense Forces said in a statement on Friday. The check was to ensure “compliance with safety standards,” the IDF said.

WCK said it also hopes to send a second aid ship to Gaza soon and began loading new supplies onto a vessel docked in the Cypriot port of Larnaca on Friday. 

The 300 tons of aid in the second shipment include “pallets of canned goods and bulk product – including beans, carrots, canned tuna, chickpeas, canned corn, parboiled rice, flour, oil and salt,” it said in a statement. 

They also managed to load a large crane, which they hope “will assist with future maritime deliveries to Gaza.” The NGO has not yet been able to confirm when this second ship will be able to set sail toward Gaza. 

More on aid to Gaza: With Palestinians in Gaza in dire need, any aid is welcome, but aid groups say maritime and airdropped aid should be complementary to land deliveries, not a substitute. Agencies and officials have repeatedly warned that no method of humanitarian relief can be as effective as delivery by land.

In a joint statement, 25 non-governmental organizations called on states to prioritize a ceasefire and increased land-based aid deliveries, warning that maritime aid may set a dangerous precedent that undermines land routes and allows for prolonged hostilities.

CNN’s Amir Tal and Eyad Kourdi contributed reporting to this post

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