Thursday, July 25, 2024

Middle East Crisis: Second day of aid airdrops highlights the urgency of Gaza's residents' needs


Jordan stepped up coordination with international partners to airdrop food and other supplies to Gaza residents this week, in a difficult effort that highlighted the dire need in Gaza as aid groups warned of increasing restrictions on their ability to distribute supplies.

The Jordanian army said in a statement that planes from the United Arab Emirates, Egypt and France joined a Jordanian airdrop along the Gaza coast on Tuesday. This was the first time that Egypt had dropped air aid to Gaza since the beginning of the war, and it appears to be the first time also for the United Arab Emirates.

The Jordanian army said that Jordanian and French planes airdropped aid on Monday, sending ready-made meals and other supplies to several locations in Gaza.

Relief groups usually drop supplies by air Only as a last resortgiven the inefficiency of this method and its relative cost compared to ground deliveries, as well as the dangers of navigating the airspace above the conflict zone and the risks to people potentially being struck when supplies fall to the ground if a safe drop zone cannot be established.

Some of the aid delivered on Monday was dropped by parachute over the sea, but the Jordanian military said some aid was dropped without it on Tuesday, forcing planes to fly at a lower altitude.


Large crowds gathered along the coast in Deir al-Balah on Monday, as Jordan and France airdropped food and other aid supplies, some of which ended up at sea.creditcredit…Alaa Fayyad, via X

Despite the restrictions imposed on airdrops, France said it was intensifying its work with Jordan because “the humanitarian situation in Gaza is very urgent,” according to Reuters. Statement by the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

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The statement said: “With the increasing number of civilians in Gaza dying from hunger and disease, more ways to deliver aid are needed, including the port of Ashdod in Israel, north of Gaza.”

Video footage taken on Monday showed a group of parachutes falling into the sea near the city of Deir al-Balah in the central Gaza Strip. Men in small boats went out through the choppy waters to retrieve the aid, watched by a crowd of hundreds who rushed to get the packages as soon as they reached shore.

Alaa Fayyad, a veterinary student who filmed a scene on the beach and posted it online, said the aid had not reached much. He said: “It was sad to see people I know well running and crowding to get aid, and this is not enough.”

The French Ministry of Foreign Affairs said that a French Air Force plane participated in the airdrop operation on Monday, along with three planes from its Jordanian counterpart, which dropped more than two tons of food and hygiene supplies.

This quantity is far less than a single truck can carry of supplies, and in total represents only a fraction of what the United Nations says is needed by Gaza's population of more than two million people.


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Jordanian planes dropped food and medical supplies by parachute into central and southern Gaza. People were seen paddling boats to collect aid as it fell into the sea.creditcredit…Ibrahim Abu Mustafa/Reuters

Jordan began airdrops in November and has completed more than a dozen missions since then, largely aimed at resupplying its field hospitals in Gaza. At least one airdrop mission was flown jointly with France in January, one of them with France Holland In February, and one with aid provided by Britain last week.

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In previous airdrops, Jordan said it coordinated its efforts with Israeli authorities, who insisted on inspecting all aid entering Gaza. The Israeli army confirmed that it approved the airdrop on Monday.

Calls for internationally coordinated airdrops intensified, while relief organizations warned at the same time that the hunger crisis in Gaza had reached the point of no return and that some obstacles to the distribution of traditional aid had become insurmountable.

Last week, the World Food Program halted food deliveries to northern Gaza, saying that despite the dire needs there, it could not operate safely amid the gunfire and “collapse of civil order” in recent days. The World Food Program and other UN relief agencies have repeatedly warned that Israeli authorities are systematically obstructing their access to northern Gaza, calling on the government to ease its restrictions. Israel denied preventing aid from arriving.

The suspension of World Food Program deliveries in the much-needed area suggests that despite numerous restrictions, airdrops may be one of the few options left to quickly deliver food to northern Gaza, according to Ahmed Fouad Al-Khatib, a Middle East policy analyst. Who grew up in the pocket. He said that Jordan's airdrops set a “decisive precedent” for the feasibility of this approach.

Mr. Fouad Al-Khatib said: “Just wanting a ceasefire or just wanting better Israeli cooperation” is not enough. “We need to act now.”

Matthew Mbok Big And Nader Ibrahim Contributed to reports.



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