World Central Kitchen sends second aid flotilla to Gaza

Pictured is one of three ships, plus a barge, carrying 400 tons of food supplies to Gaza as part of the World Central Kitchen's second aid shipment to help feed Gazans while Hamas and Israel wage war. Photo courtesy of World Central Kitchen/X
Pictured is one of three ships, plus a barge, carrying 400 tons of food supplies to Gaza as part of the World Central Kitchen's second aid shipment to help feed Gazans while Hamas and Israel wage war. Photo courtesy of World Central Kitchen/X

March 30 (UPI) -- The World Central Kitchen loaded four vessels that have set sail from Cyprus with food intended to help feed civilians in Gaza.

"We are transporting shelf-stable and ready-to-eat items, like rice, pasta, flour, legumes, canned vegetables, and proteins," the WCK announced on Friday.

"Also being delivered is a special shipment of dates provided by the United Arab Emirates to provide a sense of comfort to Palestinians observing Ramadan during the darkest times imaginable," WCK officials said. "Dates are traditionally eaten to break the daily fast."

The food supplies are enough to provide more than a million meals for the starving population and adds to the more than 43 million meals already sent to Gaza by boat, plane, and truck.

The small flotilla contains three ships and a barge carrying 400 tons of combined cargo intended to feed those in northern Gaza, where the war between Hamas and Israel has made humanitarian aid very difficult to obtain.

A barge laden with foodstuffs for Gaza departs Cyprus after the World Central Kitchen organized its second shipment of humanitarian aid to help feed starving Gazans. Photo courtesy of World Central Kitchen/X
A barge laden with foodstuffs for Gaza departs Cyprus after the World Central Kitchen organized its second shipment of humanitarian aid to help feed starving Gazans. Photo courtesy of World Central Kitchen/X

A makeshift jetty is enabling the goods to arrive by sea after the Port of Gaza was decimated by the war.

The United States earlier this month started building a floating pier to enable more humanitarian aid to arrive by sea, but it will take several weeks to complete.

The WCK's first shipment carried 200 tons of food to Gaza and arrived on March 15.

Palestinian authorities say more than 32,700 Gazans have died, but the pro-Israel Washington Institute for Near-East Policy says those numbers are "completely unreliable."

President Joe Biden in October likewise said he has "no confidence in the number that the Palestinians are using," The Guardian reported.

Israel declared war on Hamas after the organization's militants attacked Israel on Oct. 7, killing about 1,200 and kidnapping more than 200, nearly 100 of whom remain in Gaza.

The International Court of Justice in January ordered Israel to cease any genocidal acts that might have occurred and ensure humanitarian aid can reach civilians in Gaza.