Middle EastAnalysis

Gaza aid continues to fall far short of need amid doubts over future of temporary US supply pier

Israel rejects WHO claim famine looms and alleges aid being hijacked by Hamas gunmen and gangs who sell it at local markets

Humanitarian aid for the Gaza Strip awaits loading onto trucks at the Kerem Shalom border crossing between southern Israel and Gaza. Photograph: Ahikam Seri/AFP

Aid agencies hope to resume maritime humanitarian deliveries to Gaza before the weekend after a temporary US-provided pier was reattached to the Gaza shore on Wednesday.

But there were continuing unconfirmed reports that the Pentagon plans to stop operating the platform, which cost $230 million (€215 million) to build, in the coming weeks. The pier was damaged in rough seas and there were reports that much of the aid arriving by sea was hijacked by armed gunmen before it could be distributed..

The failures associated with the pier are just the latest in the efforts to distribute food, water, medicine and fuel across the beleaguered coastal enclave during the nine-month war.

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Parachute drops by a number of countries have also proved to be an inadequate solution. Some two dozen residents have reportedly lost their lives when parachutes failed to open or when residents drowned in the sea trying to reach aid drops, or when they were crushed in stampedes.


The most efficient method of aid delivery is overland but Egypt’s closure of the Rafah crossing, after Israel’s seizure of the Palestinian side of the terminal last month, left Kerem Shalom as the only major access route for aid deliveries in southern Gaza.

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International aid organisations have warned of a dire humanitarian situation, urging Israel to allow more aid in.

World Health Organisation director general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said last week a significant proportion of Gaza’s population was facing “catastrophic hunger and famine-like conditions”.

Aid agencies claim the number of aid trucks entering Gaza continues to be well below what is required.

The UN humanitarian agency, the Office for the Co-ordination of Humanitarian Affairs, reported that, in May the daily average number of trucks delivering humanitarian aid into Gaza – excluding fuel – was 97, down from 169 in April and 139 in March. Prior to the outbreak of the war on October 7th, about 500 trucks were entering Gaza every day, but that number included consumer goods and raw materials, in addition to humanitarian aid.

Israel strongly denies it is deliberately withholding aid and has urged the UN and aid agencies to increase distribution capacity. Israel claims much of the aid that does reach Gaza is hijacked by Hamas gunmen and criminal gangs who then sell it at local markets.

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Israeli officials also deny claims that Gaza faces famine, noting the conclusions on June 4th of the Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC), a multi-agency initiative to improve analysis of food security issues, that it could not confirm the situation in Gaza is a “famine”. The IPC said, however, that whether or not a famine classification was confirmed “does not in any manner change the fact that extreme human suffering is without a doubt currently ongoing in the Gaza Strip”.