US military to airdrop food and supplies into Gaza, Joe Biden announces

US President Joe Biden said on Friday the US military would drop humanitarian aid into the Gaza Strip in the coming days.
US military to airdrop food and supplies into Gaza, Joe Biden announces
Anjali Raj / Jaano Junction

US President Joe Biden announced on Friday plans to carry out a first military airdrop of food and supplies into Gaza, a day after the deaths of Palestinians queuing for aid threw a spotlight on an unfolding humanitarian catastrophe in the crowded coastal enclave.

Biden said the US airdrop would take place in the coming days but offered no further specifics. Other countries, including Jordan and France, have already carried out airdrops of aid into Gaza.

"We need to do more and the United States will do more," Biden told reporters, adding that "aid flowing to Gaza is nowhere nearly enough."

At the White House, spokesperson John Kirby stressed that airdrops would become "a sustained effort." He added that the first airdrop would be likely be military MREs, or "meals ready-to-eat."

At least 576,000 people in the Gaza Strip - one-quarter of the enclave's population - are one step away from famine, according to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.

Gaza health authorities said Israeli forces had killed more than 100 people trying to reach a relief convoy near Gaza City early on Thursday, as Palestinians face an increasingly desperate situation nearly five months into the war that began with a Hamas attack on Israel on Oct. 7.

Israel blamed most of the deaths on crowds that swarmed around aid trucks, saying victims had been trampled or run over. An Israeli official also said troops had "in a limited response" and later fired on crowds they felt had posed a threat.

With people eating animal feed and even cactuses to survive, and with medics saying children are dying in hospitals from malnutrition and dehydration, the UN has said it faces "overwhelming obstacles" to getting in aid.

David Deptula, a retired US Air Force three-star general who once commanded the no-fly zone over northern Iraq, said airdrops are something the US military can effectively execute.


"It doesn't deal with the root cause," the official said, adding that ultimately only opening up land borders could deal with the issue in a serious manner.

"Humanitarian workers always complain that airdrops are good photo opportunities but a lousy way to deliver aid," Richard Gowan, the International Crisis Group's UN Director, said. Gowan said that the only way to get enough aid was through aid convoys which would follow a truce.

"It is arguable that the situation in Gaza is now so bad that any additional supplies will at least alleviate some suffering. But this at best a temporary band-aid measure," Gowan added.

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US military to airdrop food and supplies into Gaza, Joe Biden announces

The US for months has been calling for Israel to allow more aid into Gaza, something Israel has resisted.

"We are aware of the humanitarian airdrop," said an Israeli official in Washington.

Biden told reporters that the US was also looking at the possibility of a marine corridor to deliver large amounts of aid into Gaza.

Another US official said that shipping assistance by sea from Cyprus, some 210 nautical miles off Gaza's Mediterranean coast, was being looked at.

The World Food Programme said 10 days ago that it was pausing deliveries of food aid to northern Gaza until conditions in the Palestinian enclave allow for safe distribution.

The UN Palestinian refugee agency UNRWA said on Friday that during February an average of nearly 97 trucks were able to enter Gaza each day, compared with about 150 trucks a day in January, adding: "The number of trucks entering Gaza remains well below the target of 500 per day."

Source: India Today

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