UK aid sets sail for Gaza pier

Almost 100 tonnes of UK aid has set sail for Gaza from Cyprus as part of the first delivery to a temporary pier off the region’s coast.

The Foreign Office announced that the shipment of 8,400 temporary plastic shelters had left Cyprus on Wednesday as part of a £2 million aid package and would be distributed in Gaza “as soon as feasible”.

The shelters are set to be unloaded at the pier built by the US military to provide an additional avenue for aid to get into Gaza amid continued fighting in the region.

Rishi Sunak said the shipment was “an important moment” for increasing the flow of aid into Gaza.

The pier is expected to provide access for 90 truckloads of aid at first, increasing to 150 truckloads once it is fully operational.

But the Prime Minister stressed that more needed to be done to increase the amount of aid getting into Gaza, particularly through land routes, which the Foreign Office said were the quickest and most effective route into the territory.

Lord David Cameron, the Foreign Secretary, also urged Israel to increase access to Gaza for aid shipments by opening more land crossings and allowing shipments to land at the port of Ashdod, across Gaza’s northern border.

Aid agencies including the World Food Programme have warned of an impending famine in Gaza, with more than a million people said to be experiencing “catastrophic levels of hunger”.

Israel has committed to allowing at least 500 aid trucks to enter Gaza a day, but aid organisations say there is still significant difficulty both delivering and distributing supplies.

On Tuesday, it was reported that Israeli protesters had blocked aid trucks headed for Gaza, throwing food packages onto the road and ripping open bags of grain, prompting condemnation from Lord Cameron.