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A second boat ready to depart from  Cyprus for Gaza | Middle East, the eternal conflict

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A barge from the NGO World Central Kitchen loaded with food as it arrives off the coast of Gaza, March 15, 2024.

Agence France-Presse

A second boat loaded with humanitarian aid is ready to leave Cyprus for the Gaza Strip after the arrival of 200 tonnes of food aboard an organization's ship on Friday, Cypriot authorities said on Saturday .

The spokesperson for the Cypriot Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Theodoros Gotsis, indicated on public radio that this ship, named Jennifer, was ready to leave today [Saturday] or tomorrow [Sunday] for the Gaza Strip.

This boat will use the maritime humanitarian corridor opened from the Cypriot port of Larnaca and used for the first time by the ship of the Spanish NGO Open Arms which towed a 200-ton barge of food provided by the American NGO World Central Kitchen.

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A barge from the NGO World Central Kitchen loaded with food arrives off the coast of Gaza, where the risk of famine is high after five months of Israeli military campaign, March 15, 2024.

For its part, World Central Kitchen indicated on Saturday evening that the Jennifer had been loaded with 240 tonnes of food: rice, flour, oil, canned proteins and vegetables as well as dates, a product traditionally consumed during Ramadan.

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However, the exact time of the Jennifer's departure or a possible second voyage of the Open Arms is not known at this time , nuanced the NGO in a press release, while the marine weather forecasts indicate bad weather between Sunday and the end of next week.

This maritime humanitarian corridor was opened from Cyprus, the European Union country closest to the Gaza Strip, to deal with the #x27;humanitarian emergency in the Palestinian territory, where the UN fears widespread famine after more than five months of war between Israel and the Palestinian Islamist movement Hamas.

The international community and NGOs, however, emphasize that this maritime corridor and aid airdrops cannot replace land routes.

The Open Arms ship has returned to Larnaca, where it should arrive on Sunday, said the Open Arms spokesperson. Spanish NGO, which plans to participate in other missions to Gaza.

In a message published on the X network, José Andrés, the founder of World Central Kitchen, welcomed the sending of this first boat.

We made it! […] It was a test. […] We can provide thousands of tons [of aid] every week.

A quote from José Andrés, founder of World Central Kitchen, on the social network X

The Open Arms cargo was unloaded via a temporary jetty built southwest of Gaza City and then transported by 12 trucks for distribution in the northern Gaza Strip, where the humanitarian situation is particularly catastrophic.

These aid shipments by sea are inspected on departure from Larnaca by the Israeli army, which has deployed troops to secure the area while unloading cargo from the Open Arms.

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A ship from the Spanish NGO Open Arms at the Cypriot port of Larnaca, March 11, 2024

Speaking to the press on Saturday, Cypriot President Nikos Christodoulides said he had received calls from many countries wanting to help send aid to Gaza.

The American army must also build a pier and a quay in Gaza to massively unload aid. Four military ships left the United States this week with around a hundred soldiers and the necessary equipment.

The war in the Gaza Strip was triggered by the October 7 attack by Hamas in southern Israel, which resulted in the deaths of at least 1,160 people, most of them civilians, according to an Israeli count. x27;AFP made from official Israeli data.

The Israeli military operation, launched in retaliation, left more than 31,500 dead in the Gaza Strip, according to the Hamas Ministry of Health.

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