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Aid groups have started distributing humanitarian assistance offloaded at the US pier in Gaza to Palestinians, despite facing obstacles such as Hamas drones and looting along distribution routes. Over 500 metric tons of aid has been handed off to humanitarian partners, with two-thirds already distributed or on the way to reaching those in need. The distribution process began after a rocky start to the US military’s pier operation, which had initially been delayed due to drone attacks and looting of trucks along the distribution paths.

The US military had to collaborate with USAID to come up with alternative and safer routes for trucks leaving the marshaling area on the beach near the pier and traveling to warehouses inside Gaza. More than 1,000 US troops helped construct the humanitarian pier and causeway over the past two months, with the operation launching the previous week. While the operation aims to supplement land crossings into Gaza that are often bottlenecked by Israeli inspections, the distribution process has faced challenges due to the operating environment in the region.

The aid that has been distributed includes sufficient food to feed tens of thousands of people for a month, but the situation in Gaza remains dire. The entire population is facing food insecurity, some areas are experiencing famine, and there are shortages of fuel needed for aid distribution. The humanitarian pier was never intended to replace border crossings but to provide additional avenues for delivering aid to Gaza. Thousands of tons of aid in Cyprus are awaiting processing before being brought across the pier to Gaza.

Some land crossings into Gaza are still open, allowing for the entry of private sector and humanitarian assistance trucks. However, the humanitarian situation remains dire, with Rafah and Erez East crossings closed. The United States and humanitarian partners are working to scale up and sustain assistance to address the growing needs in Gaza. Despite the challenges faced during the distribution process, efforts continue to save lives and alleviate suffering in the region through various avenues for aid delivery.

Three US service members sustained injuries during the pier mission, with two troops suffering minor injuries and one in critical condition. The injured service members were taken to a local Israeli hospital for treatment, and one remains in critical condition at a medical facility in Israel. The injuries highlight the risks involved in delivering aid in challenging environments like Gaza. The United States remains committed to providing assistance to those in need in Gaza through continued efforts to surge aid via all available channels.

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