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U.S. Pier for Gaza Aid Damaged by Rough Seas

The temporary pier that the U.S. military built and set up to deliver much-needed humanitarian aid to Gaza broke apart in rough seas, the Pentagon said Tuesday.

The latest calamity to befall the pier project punctuated several particularly dark days in Gaza, where Israeli forces intensified their attacks on the town of Rafah just two days after carrying out a deadly strike that killed dozens of people.

“Unfortunately, we had a perfect high seas storm and then, as I mentioned, this North African weather system also came in at the same time, creating a non-optimal environment to operate in,” said Sabrina Singh, Attaché Deputy Press Secretary of the Pentagon. , said during a press conference.

Army engineers are working to put the pier back in place, and Department of Defense officials hope to have it “fully operational in a little over a week,” she said.

In early March, President Biden surprised the Pentagon by announcing that the US military would build a pier for Gaza. Defense officials immediately predicted there would be logistical and security problems.

In the days after the pier became operational on May 17, trucks were looted as they headed to a warehouse, forcing the United Nations World Food Program to suspend operations. After authorities stepped up security, the weather took a turn for the worse. U.S. officials hoped the waves would not begin until later in the summer.

On Saturday, rough seas forced two small U.S. military vessels participating in the dock operation to run aground in Israel. On Sunday, part of the pier completely collapsed, including a wider parking area for dropping off supplies transported by boat, officials said. This part will need to be reconnected.

The pier is currently being removed from the Gaza coast for repairs after being damaged by rough seas, Ms Singh said. Over the next two days, it will be removed and transported to Ashdod in southern Israel for repairs.

She said the fact that the pier, which cost $320 million, was able to transport 1,000 tonnes of aid to Gaza before breaking, demonstrates that it can work.

White House policy does not allow U.S. troops to intervene on the ground in Gaza, so the Pentagon was able to begin but not complete the mission.

And while the pier project is struggling, the situation in Gaza remains dire. Even before Sunday’s deadly Israeli strikes, more than 34,000 people had died and more than 77,000 people had been injured, according to the territory’s health authorities.

News Source : www.nytimes.com
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