Departure of Gaza-bound Aid Ship Anticipated from Cyprus this Weekend



As part of the attempts to provide assistance to a population that appeared to be on the verge of starvation, a ship that was loaded with relief goods for Gaza was getting ready to leave Cyprus on Saturday.

A maritime assistance corridor between Cyprus and Gaza might begin operations as early as this weekend, according to the European Commission, which is supporting a trial initiative that is being operated by an international charity and is being funded by the United Arab Emirates.

It was anticipated that the Open Arms, a vessel that is operated by a Spanish non-governmental organization and is more used to rescuing migrants at sea, would be deployed in the initial mission. Live photos from Reuters TV showed that it was still at the port of Larnaca in Cyprus on Saturday afternoon, and the officials were unable to provide an accurate departure time for the vessel.

Gaza is around 210 miles to the north-west of Cyprus, which is approximately 15 hours of sailing time.

Along the same lines, the United States has said that it intends to construct a temporary jetty in order to transport aid into Gaza, which does not have any port facilities. It is also planning to initially use Cyprus, which is providing a process for screening goods that will include authorities from Israel. This will eliminate the need for security checks in Gaza which would otherwise be required.

In the ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas, negotiations on a potential truce have not yet reached a conclusion.

On Saturday, the charity World Central Kitchen (WCK) was responsible for organizing an operation in Larnaca that was mostly supported by the United Arab Emirates (UAE). The operation involved loading pallets of rice, flour, and protein.

Five months into Israel's assault against Hamas, aid organizations have issued a warning about the impending threat of hunger. There are serious bottlenecks in relief delivery at land border checkpoints, which has resulted in the majority of Gaza's 2.3 million inhabitants being forced to relocate within the country.

Efforts to increase humanitarian supplies, which have currently included airdrops of food, will be supplemented by the establishment of a sea corridor from Cyprus.

The charitable organization WCK is obtaining the food through a partnership with the Spanish organization Proactiva Open Arms.

A statement issued by the organization stated that "WCK and partners agree that more than one ship will be required and are working towards a constant flow of aid." The statement also mentioned that an additional 500 tons of aid was prepared to accompany the original cargo.

It was stated by a spokeswoman for WCK that the plan was to sail to Gaza, where WCK and its partners were in the process of constructing a pier. It had nothing to do with the jetty project in the United States.

Since 2007, when Hamas assumed control of the territory, Gaza has been subject to a blockade by the Israeli navy from the beginning. Since that time, there have been a limited number of direct marine arrivals. In 2008, pro-Palestinian activists made use of the port of Larnaca in order to transport themselves into Gaza harbor by means of tiny sailboats.

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