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The authorities in Gaza reported a tragic incident in which several people drowned while attempting to retrieve airdropped aid packages that had fallen into the sea. Calls were made for an end to airdrops over the territory and an increase in aid deliveries by land. People in Gaza waded into the water to collect the aid, leading to a dozen drownings, with at least one person getting entangled in a parachute. While the details could not be independently confirmed, the situation highlighted the risks associated with airdrops.

The United Nations and other aid organizations have advocated for the use of trucks as the safest and most effective means of delivering aid to Gaza, given its dire humanitarian situation. Despite this, several governments, including the United States, France, Jordan, and Egypt, have resorted to airdrops to supplement aid deliveries by land. However, such airdrops have proven to be risky, as seen in previous incidents where Palestinians were killed or injured by falling aid packages.

The United States military’s Central Command confirmed conducting an airdrop of over 46,000 U.S. meals ready to eat into northern Gaza, citing the area’s great need for critical aid. While the U.S. continued to plan further aerial deliveries, reports of the deaths resulting from the airdrop were not commented on. The British defense secretary also stated that his country had airdropped 10 tons of aid over Gaza, with no specific details provided about the time or location of the drop. Governments justify the airdrops as necessary due to a significant decrease in aid entering Gaza since a deadly attack led by Hamas on Israel.

The decrease in aid deliveries since the attack has impacted Gaza’s population, which is in the midst of a hunger crisis bordering on famine. The number of aid trucks entering Gaza has fallen by approximately 75 percent since the attack, according to U.N. data. While efforts by organizations like World Central Kitchen have been made to deliver aid to Gaza by sea, concerns remain about Israel’s rigorous inspections of trucks, slowing down the distribution of aid. Israel, on the other hand, attributes the delays to UNRWA, arguing that the country can process aid trucks faster than humanitarian groups can distribute aid within Gaza.

In light of the tragic incident of people drowning while trying to retrieve airdropped aid in the sea, calls have been made for a halt to airdrops over Gaza and an increase in land deliveries. The risks associated with airdrops, as seen in previous incidents, underscore the importance of prioritizing the safety of aid recipients. While various governments have resorted to airdrops due to a decline in aid entering Gaza, efforts by aid organizations and countries to ensure the timely and efficient delivery of aid are crucial in addressing the humanitarian crisis in the region. The challenges related to aid distribution in Gaza, including stringent inspections by Israel and processing delays, highlight the need for coordinated efforts to facilitate the flow of essential supplies to those in need.

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