UK plays central role in establishing Cyprus maritime corridor enabling aid delivery to Gaza shore

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RFA Cardigan Bay and US Army Landing craft work together to provide military personnel to the building of trident pier. Photographer: PO Phot Arron Hoare - UK MOD © Crown copyright 2024. MOD Crown Copyright News / Editorial Licence.

UK aid has been successfully delivered to the Gaza shore, in the first delivery across a temporary built pier.

The first of 8,400 shelter coverage kits – temporary shelters made up of plastic sheeting – have arrived in Gaza, alongside aid from the US and UAE.

This is the first consignment of UK aid to be delivered through the Cyprus maritime corridor, following screening in Larnaca port. More aid, including 2,000 additional coverage kits, 900 tents, 5 forklift trucks and 9,200 hygiene kits, will follow in the coming weeks.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said:

UK aid is now being delivered to people through the temporary pier off Gaza. This is the culmination of a herculean joint international effort, and I pay tribute to our armed forces who alongside our partners have played a central role delivering this much needed support.

More aid will follow in the coming weeks, but we know the maritime route is not the only answer. We need to see more land routes open, including via the Rafah crossing, to ensure much more aid gets safely to civilians in desperate need of help.

LIFE-SAVING MISSION TO GAZA (Pictured: Military personnel embark and disembark RFA Cardigan Bay to help with the construction of Trident Pier) UK and US governments to establish a maritime aid corridor from Cyprus to Gaza. Photographer:PO Phot Arron Hoare. UK MOD © Crown copyright 2024. MOD Crown Copyright News / Editorial Licence.

Foreign Secretary David Cameron said:

This first delivery of UK aid through the Cyprus Maritime Corridor is a major milestone in the international community’s efforts to maximise aid going into Gaza. The UK has played a central role in this and we’re already working on getting our next shipment into Gaza soon as possible.

But maritime is just one part of the bigger picture. Land routes remain the most effective means of getting aid into Gaza at the scale needed.  Gazans are at risk of famine and in desperate need of supplies – Israel must ensure land routes are open and that aid gets safely to where it is needed.

Defence Secretary Grant Shapps said:

The newly operational pier off the coast of Gaza will enable truckloads of humanitarian aid to reach Palestinians in dire need. 

The UK continues to play a key role in this herculean international effort – supporting logistics coordination in Cyprus, deploying RFA Cardigan Bay to help US personnel constructing and operating the pier and providing UK aid for delivery.

We expect the first shipment to provide enough provisions to feed 11,000 people for a month.

The Joint Logistics Over the Shore (JLOTS) pier has been built by the US Navy and Army and was anchored to the shore earlier this week (16 May). It is expected to initially facilitate the delivery of 90 truckloads of international aid into Gaza each day, reaching up to 150 truckloads once fully operational.

The UK has played a central role in establishing the Cyprus maritime corridor. It has committed £9.7 million to support the initiative, contributing 3,600 shelter coverage kits, 5 forklift trucks, 900 family tents, 9,200 hygiene kits, and logistics support in Cyprus. The Ministry of Defence is also providing accommodation on board RFA Cardigan Bay for US military personnel constructing the pier.

The UK is clear that the corridor is not a replacement for land routes, which remain the most effective way of getting aid into Gaza. The Prime Minister and the Foreign Secretary continue to call on Israel to meet its commitment to allow at least 500 aid trucks into Gaza through land crossings and open as many routes as possible.

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