‘Our children can’t find anything to eat.’

An aid ship with 200 tons of food set sail for Gaza as thousands of Palestinians are on the brink of starvation.


World News

March 12, 2024 - 2:03 PM

Palestinians line up for food in Rafah, Gaza Strip, Thursday, Nov. 30, 2023, during a temporary ceasefire between Israel and Hamas. Photo by (AP Photo/Hatem Ali)

RAFAH, Gaza Strip (AP) — An aid ship loaded with some 200 tons of food set sail for Gaza on Tuesday in a pilot program for the opening of a sea corridor to the territory, where the five-month-old Israel-Hamas war has driven hundreds of thousands of Palestinians to the brink of starvation.

The push to get food in by sea — along with a recent campaign of air drops into isolated northern Gaza — highlighted the international community’s frustration with the growing humanitarian crisis and its inability to get aid in by road.

The food on the aid ship was collected by World Central Kitchen, the charity founded by celebrity chef José Andrés, and is being transported by the Spanish aid group Open Arms. The ship departed from the eastern Mediterranean island nation of Cyprus and is expected to arrive in Gaza in two to three days.

The United States has separately announced plans to construct a sea bridge near Gaza in order to deliver aid, but it will likely be several weeks before it is operational. President Joe Biden’s administration has provided crucial military aid for Israel while urging it to facilitate more humanitarian access.

Aid groups say it is nearly impossible to deliver aid in much of Gaza because of Israeli restrictions, ongoing hostilities and the breakdown of order after the Hamas-run police force largely vanished from the streets.

On Monday, the first day of the normally festive month of Ramadan, children with pots lined up at a charity kitchen in the urban Jabaliya refugee camp. Each was given a small portion of cooked carrots and sweet potatoes to break the dawn-to-dusk fast.

“Our children can’t find anything to eat,” said Bassam al-Haw, a volunteer. “No food, no water, no flour.”