18 Killed In Gaza Trying To Reach Aid As Pentagon Vows More Airdrops

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by Tyler Durden
Wednesday, Mar 27, 2024 - 04:25 PM

The Biden administration announced this week that it plans to resume humanitarian aid drops into Gaza amid reports that large-scale famine is looming. However, critics have said that the airdropped crates from large military transport planes are dangerous given the cramped and desperate conditions on the ground below. 

So far the Pentagon has delivered at least 17 airdrops of nearly 500,000 meals, but the Hamas-run Gaza Health Ministry has said that just on Monday alone 18 people died trying to desperately access the aid, much of which landed in the sea.

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Airdropping supplies just off the coast is an apparent safety precaution, after earlier this month Palestinian civilians died after apparently being impacted by falling crates amid parachute failure.

But 12 of the deceased drowned on Monday while trying to access the aid which landed in the Mediterranean. "The aid airdrops pose a real threat to the lives of hungry Palestinians," Gaza’s government media office warned. Others reportedly perished during stampedes as the aid arrived on land.

The statement further described that some of the recent aid has fallen into active war zones, which presents the risk of hungry civilians getting caught in the crossfire trying to reach it. "This all put the lives of people in real danger," the office added.

Initially only Jordan was engaged in airdrops, later joined by the US military. Since then and into this week the countries of Germany, Britain, Egypt, Singapore, and UAE have joined and cooperated on airdrops. 

Pentagon spokesperson Sabrina Singh has noted there have been recent instances of parachute malfunctions when delivering the aid. "As always, safety is a top priority when planning these airdrops," Singh said. "Of note, during [Monday's] humanitarian airdrop, which included approximately 80 bundles, three bundles were reported to have had parachute malfunctions and landed in the water."

A number of human rights and aid groups have criticized air drops as a mere show or PR stunt, saying they aren't worth the risk given the miniscule amount of aid through such means compared to what's needed for the Strip's more than two million people.

The Pentagon is currently seeking to erect a large aid delivery pier off Gaza's coast, which is expected to take at least a month to complete once started. The US ships participating in the mission departed the US on March 15 and are still traversing the Atlantic Ocean:

The Army and Navy ships that have left the U.S. for a massive humanitarian aid project in Gaza are still making their way across the Atlantic, with two still at ports in Florida and Virginia. It will likely take until mid-April for the vessels to reach Gaza and begin building a temporary causeway to facilitate the entry of life-saving aid into the strip.

Looking at real-time satellite imagery tracking military vessels, it looks like the USAV Gen. Frank Besson Jr., an Army support vessel that left Fort Eustis, Virginia, on March 10, has been moored and presumably refueling at a port in the Azores, Portugal, since Friday. It is at the half-way point between the U.S. and its final destination of Cyprus (nearly 5,000 nautical miles total). At an average speed of 10 knots, its journey will take nearly two more weeks, depending on weather conditions, once it gets going again.

The rest of the vessels are behind and, as of Tuesday, halfway across the Atlantic, though they can travel at slightly higher speeds than the Besson. They include the Army support vessels Loux, Matamoros, Monterrey and Wilson Wharf, which are all traveling together and were between Bermuda and the Azores Tuesday morning.

Below: surreal footage of starving Palestinians attempting to reach the dropped aid...

The Pentagon's ongoing airdrop mission is meant to fill the gap at least until the US Navy's maritime delivery missions can begin. Rights groups have also criticized Israel for effectively imposing a full military blockade on Gaza, and have charged that Israel's military is actively weaponizing food access.