US considers airdropping aid into Gaza as land deliveries slow, US official says

Aid is air-dropped over Gaza, amid the ongoing the conflict between Israel and Hamas, in Rafah

By Steve Holland and Kanishka Singh

(Reuters) - President Joe Biden's administration is considering airdropping aid from U.S. military planes into Gaza as land deliveries become increasingly difficult, a U.S. official said on Wednesday.


Israel's military offensive in Gaza has flattened most of the densely populated enclave, killed tens of thousands, displaced nearly all its population, and left Gazans on the brink of starvation. The volume of total humanitarian aid getting into Gaza fell by half in February in comparison to January, U.N. data shows.


At least 576,000 people in the Gaza Strip - one quarter of the population there - are one step away from famine, according to the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. It said on Tuesday aid groups faced "overwhelming obstacles just to get a bare minimum of supplies into Gaza."

One in six children under age 2 in northern Gaza suffers from acute malnutrition and practically all the 2.3 million people in the Palestinian enclave rely on "woefully inadequate" food aid to survive, it added.

Palestinian Islamist group Hamas attacked Israel on Oct. 7, killing 1,200 people, according to Israeli tallies. Since then, Israel has militarily assaulted Hamas-governed Gaza, killing 30,000 Palestinians, according to the Gaza health ministry.


In an interview on Tuesday with the Guardian newspaper, a U.N. appointed expert on the right to food, Michael Fakhri, accused Israel of "intentionally depriving people of food" in Gaza, saying this "is clearly a war crime."

Israel's Deputy U.N. Ambassador Jonathan Miller said on Tuesday Israel is committed to improving the humanitarian situation in Gaza and that the quantity and pace of aid depended on the capacity of the U.N. and other agencies.

Axios, which first reported the U.S. was considering airdrops, cited American officials to be saying that aid airdrops will have a limited effect since a military plane can only drop the amount of supplies equivalent to that transported by one or two trucks.

(Reporting by Steve Holland, writing by Kanishka Singh, additional reporting by Angela Christy; Editing by Sonali Paul)