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US airdrops aid first time in Gaza amid escalating humanitarian crisis

02:07 AM Mar 03, 2024 IST | SURINDER SINGH OBEROI
us airdrops aid first time in gaza amid escalating humanitarian crisis
Palestinians inspect the ruins of Watan Tower destroyed in Israeli airstrikes in Gaza city, on October 8, 2023. Wafa/Creative commons
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New Delhi, Mar 2: The United States executed its first airdrop of aid to the besieged Gaza Strip, dispatching over 30,000 meals via three C-130 transport aircraft. This action, confirmed by a spokesperson for the US Central Command to AFP, marks a pivotal moment in international aid efforts for the region. More airdrops are likely to follow.

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The operation took place on Saturday, as detailed by two US officials, following President Joe Biden's assurance to intensify aid delivery to Gaza. This commitment came in the wake of his remarks on Friday, expressing frustration over the slow pace of aid entering the territory and the ongoing efforts to negotiate a ceasefire to facilitate further assistance.

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Each of the three aircraft involved in the operation dropped a total of 66 bundles, amounting to 22 each, exclusively comprising meal packages intended for the Gaza populace.

President Biden, in a statement made alongside Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni at the Oval Office, underlined the urgency of enhancing aid flows into Gaza. He specifically called on Israel to increase access to aid deliveries, highlighting the dire need for assistance in the region and the critical situation faced by civilians, particularly children.

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This US-led airdrop operation is distinguished as the country's first, although other nations, such as Jordan and the United Arab Emirates, have previously conducted similar aid deliveries to Gaza.

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The initiative comes amid criticism from several aid organisations regarding the effectiveness of US plans for food aid distribution in Gaza, where the United Nations has raised alarms about the imminent risk of famine affecting hundreds of thousands of individuals.

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The announcement of the US's involvement in aid airdrops followed a tragic incident on Thursday, where over 100 people were killed while seeking assistance from a convoy, prompting President Biden to pledge an escalation in aid efforts to the region. Several countries have shown shock and demanded an investigation.

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India said “We are deeply shocked at the loss of lives in Northern Gaza during the delivery of humanitarian assistance. Such loss of civilian lives and the larger humanitarian situation in Gaza Continue to be a cause for extreme worry. We reiterate our call for safe and timely delivery of humanitarian aid and assistance.”

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