US military reinstalls pier on Gaza beach after repairs from storm damage

Aid delivery operations to resume in the coming days, US military says

The US pier to bring maritime aid to Gaza, pictured on May 16, before it was damaged by storms. Central Command / AP
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The US military has reconnected a temporary pier to a Gaza beach after the structure was damaged in a storm nearly two weeks ago, US Central Command said on Friday.

Lorries carrying desperately needed food aid will be able to use the pier again in the near future, Vice Admiral Brad Cooper told reporters.

“Earlier this morning in Gaza, US forces successfully attached the temporary pier to the Gaza beach,” he said. “We expect to resume delivery of humanitarian assistance from the sea in the coming days.”

Part of the pier had to be towed to the Israeli port of Ashdod for repairs after it was damaged in rough seas.

Vice Admiral Cooper said the pier, once back to full capacity, would allow for the delivery of about 500 tonnes of aid per day.

The pier was only operational for a week before it was torn apart by a storm.

Early efforts to get aid from the pier into Gaza were hampered when people tried to take food off the lorries as they headed to distribution warehouses.

With much of the Gaza Strip facing famine, the maritime route is considered an important food delivery option, but it cannot make up for the shortfalls in aid delivery caused by Israel closing land crossings.

Airdrops have also been affected by continuing military operations in the southern city of Rafah and northern Gaza, but Vice Admiral Cooper said the US expects to resume airdrops in the coming days.

President Joe Biden announced his plan for the US military to build a pier during his State of the Union address in early March, and the military said it would take about 60 days to get it installed and operational.

The initial cost was estimated at $320 million, but Pentagon spokeswoman Sabrina Singh said this week that the price had dropped to $230 million, due to contributions from Britain and because the cost of contracting lorries and other equipment was less than expected.

Updated: June 07, 2024, 5:30 PM