Critical aid, food delivered by sea to starving families in war-torn northern Gaza

UPI
Almost 200 tons of rice, flour, vegetables and proteins have been distributed to families facing starvation in war-torn northern Gaza, World Central Kitchen announced Tuesday. The critical food delivery is the first humanitarian shipment to reach the Gazan coast by sea in nearly two decades. Photo courtesy of World Central Kitchen

March 19 (UPI) -- Nearly 200 tons of food and ready-to-eat meals have been distributed to families facing starvation in war-torn northern Gaza, in the first humanitarian shipment to reach the Gazan coast by sea in nearly two decades.

World Central Kitchen, a U.S. nonprofit, announced the shipment Tuesday of rice, flour, vegetables and proteins to communities where access has been "highly restricted" during Israel's war with Hamas.

"WCK provided almost 200 tons of food in northern Gaza that arrived in our first maritime shipment," the organization wrote Tuesday in a post on X.

"The aid went to families facing starvation in areas largely cut off by the war. Our teams are working to provide millions more meals via sea to Palestinians."

The delivery arrived on the 120-foot Open Arms boat through an international maritime corridor, proving "desperately needed food can be delivered by sea," according to WCK.

The United Nations has warned of mass starvation in Gaza, specifically in the north, where Israeli attacks have destroyed critical infrastructure.

"If we do not exponentially increase the size of aid going into northern areas, famine is imminent," said U.N. World Food Program Executive Director Cindy McCain.

On Monday, the United Nations food security agency said northern Gaza may be experiencing famine already, with the latest data showing two key thresholds -- household acute food insecurity and acute malnutrition -- "far exceeded" and "highly likely to have been exceeded."

The Israeli Defense Forces said Tuesday's delivery was conducted "in coordination with Israeli security and civilian authorities, in accordance with the directive of the government of Israel and at the request of the U.S. government."

A second ship, carrying hundreds of tons of food for Gaza, along with heavy machinery to "expedite the offloading process" will follow.

"The boat will be the second to set sail as part of the maritime corridor we've opened alongside international partners so Palestinians get as much support as possible," WCK said, without releasing a timeline.

WCK's founder José Andrés said Tuesday their teams have "worked nonstop to open this maritime aid route into Gaza," adding that they built their own jetty using "rubble from bombed buildings to safely unload cargo."

"World Central Kitchen delivered this morning eight trucks safely to the north, 200 tons," Andrés wrote Tuesday in a post on X.

"Almost 500k meals equivalent ...but we all need to continue this nonstop and daily and reach every community north ...thanks to World Food Program for helping us with cars and drivers."