WHO Official: US-built Pier in Gaza Not Sufficient in Delivering Aid to Palestinians

Ships appear near the pier established by the US in Gaza (Reuters)
Ships appear near the pier established by the US in Gaza (Reuters)
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WHO Official: US-built Pier in Gaza Not Sufficient in Delivering Aid to Palestinians

Ships appear near the pier established by the US in Gaza (Reuters)
Ships appear near the pier established by the US in Gaza (Reuters)

The reconnected US-built pier off the coast of the Gaza Strip cannot supply Palestinians with anywhere near the level of aid they need, the head of the World Health Organization’s Eastern Mediterranean region said Monday.

Dr. Hanan Balkhy made the remarks after the US military began delivering aid through the floating pier again, after it was removed a second time because of rough seas.

“The pier has supported a little bit, but it’s not to the scale that is needed by any stretch of the imagination,” Balkhy told The Associated Press in an interview. “So we need to emphasize on the land routes to ensure the amount and the quantity and the efficiency.”

The organization says that since Israel launched its ground operation into Rafah, aid delivery had declined by 67%, with over 50 WHO trucks stuck on the Egyptian side of the crossing into the southern city. Meanwhile, just three trucks were allowed into Gaza through the Kerem Shalom crossing.

Israel says it has allowed hundreds of truckloads of aid through the crossing, but says the UN has failed to pick it up. The UN says it is too dangerous for trucks to move through the area due to rampant lawlessness, despite Israeli pledges to carve out a safe corridor.

Israel’s war against Hamas, now in its ninth month, continues to face growing international criticism over widespread destruction in Gaza and a huge toll in civilian lives.

Aid groups have regularly criticized the plan to deliver aid to Gaza by sea as ineffective and a distraction that has taken pressure pressure off Israel to open land border crossings that can deliver aid in larger numbers.

And despite some increased aid into northern Gaza, experts say the enclave is at “high risk” of famine. Overcrowded hospitals struggle to keep the lights on due to lack of fuel and there are medicine shortages, while also sheltering many displaced Palestinians.

Delivering aid through two key Gaza land border crossings has been especially difficult after Israeli troops seized the strategic Rafah crossing with Egypt in May. WHO has also struggled to evacuate some 10,000 patients in Gaza who it says urgently need treatment abroad.

WHO says its last dispatch of aid that reached Gaza was a rare delivery into the north to the Kamal Adwan and Al Awda hospitals.

“Almost everything is being prohibited, and some of the needed commodities are being delivered, but as I mentioned not at the scale that is needed for the people of Gaza,” Balkhy said.

She warned that the dire condition of hospitals as well as poor living conditions and “significant malnutrition,” is ripe for the spread of infectious diseases.

“We’re talking about larger numbers of children, and patients with scabies, diarrhea, lice, rashes of unknown causes,” she said. “Every time there’s a lack of hygiene, infectious diseases caused by pathogens start to flourish."



Israel Strikes Gaza, Yemen, Lebanon Foes after Attacks

Smoke rises from a building hit by an Israeli strike in Nuseirat in the central Gaza Strip on July 20, 2024, amid the ongoing conflict between Israel and the Palestinian group Hamas. (Photo by Eyad BABA / AFP)
Smoke rises from a building hit by an Israeli strike in Nuseirat in the central Gaza Strip on July 20, 2024, amid the ongoing conflict between Israel and the Palestinian group Hamas. (Photo by Eyad BABA / AFP)
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Israel Strikes Gaza, Yemen, Lebanon Foes after Attacks

Smoke rises from a building hit by an Israeli strike in Nuseirat in the central Gaza Strip on July 20, 2024, amid the ongoing conflict between Israel and the Palestinian group Hamas. (Photo by Eyad BABA / AFP)
Smoke rises from a building hit by an Israeli strike in Nuseirat in the central Gaza Strip on July 20, 2024, amid the ongoing conflict between Israel and the Palestinian group Hamas. (Photo by Eyad BABA / AFP)

The Middle East was reeling Sunday from deadly violence with Israel bombing Gaza, Lebanon and Yemen in quick succession in response to attacks from Iran-backed militant groups.
Despite Washington's top diplomat asserting a deal is near the "goal line" to end more than nine months of devastating war between Israel and Gaza rulers Hamas, the Israeli military said it intercepted a missile fired from Yemen, as it pressed on with its offensive in the besieged Palestinian territory, Agence France Presse reported.
Dozens have been killed since Saturday across the Gaza Strip, the civil defense agency said, including in strikes on homes in the central Nuseirat and Bureij areas and displaced people near southern Khan Yunis.
Residents said a major operation was underway in the district of Rafah in the south, reporting heavy artillery and clashes.
The deadly strikes in Gaza came hours after Hezbollah and its ally Hamas said they fired at Israeli positions from south Lebanon, while Yemen's Houthi group vowed to respond to Israeli warplanes hitting a key port.
The fire left raging by the strikes on Hodeida port "is seen across the Middle East and the significance is clear," Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant said.
Detailing the first strikes claimed by Israel in Yemen, Gallant warned of further operations if the Houthis "dare to attack us" after a Houthi drone strike killed one in Tel Aviv on Friday.
In Hodeida three people were killed and 87 wounded, health officials said in a statement carried by Houthi media.
Netanyahu travels to Washington
The trio of militant groups has vowed to keep up attacks on Israel until a truce ends the violence in Gaza, which lies in ruins, with most residents forced to flee their homes.
The Gaza war was triggered by Hamas's October 7 attack on southern Israel, which resulted in the deaths of 1,195 people, mostly civilians, according to an AFP tally based on Israeli figures.
The militants also seized 251 hostages, 116 of whom are still in Gaza, including 42 the Israeli military says are dead.
Israel's military retaliation to wipe out Hamas has killed at least 38,919 people, also mostly civilians, according to data from the health ministry in Hamas-ruled Gaza.
The war has also unleashed hunger and health crises in Gaza, with Israel and the United Nations trading blame for vital aid supplies failing to reach those in need.
After the detection of poliovirus in Gaza sewage, though no individual cases, the World Health Organization said there were "monumental" constraints to mounting a timely response.
WHO spokesman Christian Lindmeier said Friday the agency believes many more diseases are "spreading out of control" inside Gaza.
The premier is due to address US lawmakers Wednesday in Washington, where he will be under pressure to reach a ceasefire with Hamas.
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Friday a truce was within reach.
"I believe we're... driving toward the goal line in getting an agreement that would produce a ceasefire, get the hostages home, and put us on a better track to trying to build lasting peace and stability," he said.