Middle East

Ship carrying aid to Gaza departs from Cyprus, non-profit says

From CNN's Scott McLean

A ship carrying humanitarian aid to Gaza has departed the port city of Larnaca in Cyprus, according to World Central Kitchen (WCK), a non-profit that said it was the first maritime shipment of humanitarian aid to the enclave.

“After weeks of preparation, our team in Cyprus loaded almost 200 tons of food onto the Open Arms boat that will deliver the desperately-needed aid,” WCK said in a statement on Tuesday.

WCK said it had partnered with the United Arab Emirates, Cyprus and the Spanish NGO Open Arms to coordinate the dispatch.

Maritime aid corridor: The departure at 8:45 a.m. local time comes after announcements that Cyprus, the European Commission, the United States, the United Arab Emirates, and the United Kingdom were working to establish a maritime corridor to deliver aid to Gaza.

The ship will tow a large barge packed with pallets of food aid, including rice, flour, beans, lentils, and canned meats.

To transport the pallets from the barge and the ship to land, a temporary jetty will be built in an undisclosed location in Gaza, though the details of those efforts are unclear.

On Sunday, WCK Founder Jose Andres said the jetty would be built with material and infrastructure in Gaza with help from barges and amphibious vehicles. He said on X that the pier would be built “With @openarms_fund serving as our logistics and command in the water…carrying the initial barge near the beach….plus a big cargo boat for reloading.”

WCK says it has served more than 35 million meals in Gaza since October, and is working with almost 400 locally hired staff.

The ship is normally a search and rescue vessel used by Open Arms.

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