UN food program agrees to assist in Gaza aid distribution using sea route

The United Nations’ World Food Program (WFP) will work with the U.S. on getting aid to Gaza by way of the sea, according to the Biden administration.

The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) confirmed to The Hill Saturday that it will work with the WFP to get humanitarian aid to Gaza by way of the sea.

“This is a complex operation that requires coordination between many partners, and our conversations are ongoing. Throughout Gaza, the safety and security of humanitarian actors is critical to the delivery of assistance, and we continue to advocate for measures that will give humanitarians greater assurances,” a USAID spokesperson said in a statement.

U.S. and WFP officials are working on how they can deliver aid to Palestinian civilians “in an independent, neutral, and impartial manner,” they added.

President Biden announced the construction of a pier on Gaza’s coast to get aid into the territory during his State of the Union speech last month. He has faced increasing criticism for his handling of the humanitarian situation in Gaza, especially in the wake of a recent Israeli attack that killed seven aid workers with World Central Kitchen, which Biden said left him “outraged and heartbroken”.

“Incidents like yesterday’s simply should not happen,” Biden said the day after the attack. “Israel has also not done enough to protect civilians. The United States has repeatedly urged Israel to deconflict their military operations against Hamas with humanitarian operations, in order to avoid civilian casualties.”

A WFP spokesperson also confirmed the partnership in a statement to The Hill Saturday.

The U.N. “has agreed to work with the US and other partners on the maritime corridor as an additional route for relief to Gaza, on the condition that humanitarian principles can be ensured and that land access is also expanded,” the spokesperson wrote.

“Our objective remains to bring as much food to starving Gazans as possible, to avert looming famine,” they added.

WFP Executive Director Cindy McCain said earlier this month that people in Gaza were on the edge of famine.

“We’re literally on the brink of going over the edge — over the cliff — with famine and not being able to recover from it,” McCain said in an interview on CNN’s “State of the Union” with Jake Tapper.

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