The director of the UN World Food Program said on Sunday (Monday AEST) the program has “paused” its distribution of humanitarian aid from an American-built pier off Gaza, saying she was “concerned about the safety of our people” after what had been one of the deadliest days of the war there.
Saturday saw both an Israeli military assault that freed four hostages but left 274 Palestinians and one Israeli commando dead, and, Cindy McCain said, two of WFP’s warehouses in Gaza had been “rocketed” and a staffer injured.

Sunday’s UN announcement of the pause appears the latest setback for the US sea route, set up to try to bring more aid to Gaza’s starving people.

This image provided by the US Army shows trucks loaded with humanitarian aid from the United Arab Emirates and the United States Agency for International Development cross the Trident Pier. (AP)

The US Agency for International Development described the pause as a step to allow for a security review by the humanitarian community in Gaza.

USAID works with the World Food Program and their humanitarian partners in Gaza to distribute food and other aid coming from the US-operated pier.

After repairs, it returned to operation again on Saturday, bringing in 492 metric tons of food and other aid, before McCain said her agency was pausing its humanitarian work there.

An image provided by US Central Command, shows soldiers assigned to the 7th Transportation Brigade (Expeditionary), US Navy sailors assigned to Amphibious Construction Battalion 1, and Israel Defense Forces placing the Trident Pier on the coast of Gaza Strip on May 16, 2024. (AP)

The UN agency gave no further details, including how long the pause would last.

WFP spokespeople did not respond to requests for further details.

Asked about the pier operation during an appearance on CBS’s Face the Nation McCain said: “Right now we’re paused.”

“I’m concerned about the safety of our people after the incident yesterday,” McCain said, without elaboration.

“We also, two of our warehouses, the warehouse complex were rocketed yesterday.”

“We’ve stepped back for the moment,” she said, and want “to make sure that we’re on safe terms and on safe ground before we’ll restart. But the rest of the country is operational. We’re doing… everything we can in the north and the south.”

USAID said in a statement to The Associated Press that it was working with other US government officials and with humanitarian groups in Gaza “to ensure that aid can safely and effectively resume movement following completion of the security review that the humanitarian community is currently undertaking.”

President Joe Biden in March announced in his State of the Union address that he had directed the US military to set up the temporary pier.

Palestinians wounded in the Israeli bombardment of the Gaza Strip are brought to al-Aqsa Hospital in Deir al Balah. (AP)

The US project was meant to bring in a limited amount of aid into Gaza, where Israeli restrictions on land crossings, and fighting, have brought more than a million of Gaza’s 2.3 million people near the point of famine.

Saturday’s return to operation for the US pier project came the same day that Israel mounted a heavy air and ground assault that rescued four hostages, who had been taken by Hamas during the October 7 attack that launched the war in Gaza.

Pushing back against social media claims after the Israeli military operation, US Central Command said in a tweet on Saturday that neither the pier nor any of its equipment, personnel or other assets were used in the Israeli operation.

Civilians flee in Rafah as Israel pushes ahead with its offensive

It noted that Israel used an area south of the pier “to safely return hostages.”

A core principle of humanitarian groups holds that their work must be independent of the mission of combatants in a conflict zone, so as to keep aid operations and aid workers from becoming targets.

USAID said in a separate statement on Saturday that no humanitarian workers were involved in the Israeli operation.

Speaking of the “rocketing” of the WFP warehouses, McCain said Sunday that one staffer was injured but “everybody else is fine.”

“That’s why a cease-fire is necessary. That’s why we need to stop this,” so that aid from her program and other organisations can flow into Gaza “at scale.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You May Also Like

Billy Joel ‘wasn’t surprised’ CBS abruptly moved out his special: ‘I’ve always kind of been cut short by TV’

Billy Joel may be a big shot everywhere — but, he says,…

CBO: National Debt Will Pass $50 Trillion in 10 Years

This seems like very bad news and it’s made worse by the…

Whooping couch and pneumonia strikes young Aussies in NSW – as health experts issue urgent warning to parents

By Padraig Collins For Daily Mail Australia Published: 20:58 EDT, 18 June…

Willie Mays, baseball icon, dead at 93

The “Say Hey Kid” has said farewell. Baseball legend Willie Mays has…