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US President Biden announces airdrops of humanitarian aid into Gaza

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Washington, DC | March 2, 2024 3:56:25 AM IST
President Joe Biden announced on Friday that the United States is set to initiate airdrops of humanitarian aid into Gaza amid ongoing negotiations for a temporary ceasefire in the Israel-Hamas conflict, The Hill reported.

The confirmation came during a meeting with the Prime Minister of Italy, Giorgia Meloni, in the Oval Office.

The planned airdrops aim to provide essential humanitarian assistance to Palestinians in Gaza, addressing the increasingly dire circumstances faced by the population as Israel conducts military operations in the region.

The airdrops are perceived as a means for the US to deliver aid to the region while actively working towards brokering a ceasefire between Israel and Hamas. This initiative aims to facilitate the entry of essential supplies such as food, medicine, and water into Gaza, as well as the release of hostages.

The US military is actively working to carry out the airdrops in the coming days, according to a statement from a US official to CNN.

While airdrops offer a means to deliver aid into the area, they are not viewed as a sustainable solution to the humanitarian crisis in Gaza. This method can only transport a fraction of the aid that could be delivered by trucks, highlighting the challenges posed by the Israeli government's reluctance to open more land crossings for critically needed assistance, as reported by CNN.

The US has called on the Benjamin Netanyahu government to open additional crossings, particularly in the north, but these appeals have yet to yield positive results. The limited number of trucks entering the war-torn strip, with just 85 per day last week, underscores the pressing need for increased access to facilitate aid distribution.

"Those would help immediately," State Department spokesperson Matthew Miller said Thursday when asked by CNN about the potential for carrying out airdrops.

"But the real solution here to this is to try to get - or to get, I should say - an agreement that would dramatically increase the flow of assistance in and help with the distribution problems and help with the problem that civilians face of being able to move safely to get to aid when it actually does make it in," Miller said at a department briefing.

Earlier in the week, countries including Jordan, Egypt, the UAE, Qatar, and France engaged in airdropping relief aid in various areas of the Gaza Strip, underscoring the urgency of the situation.

Senior US officials have consistently urged their Israeli counterparts in direct meetings on the urgent need to open additional crossings, emphasising the life-and-death nature of the matter.

USAID Administrator Samantha Power, who met with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Israeli Defence Minister Yoav Gallant, said, "This is a matter of life and death."

Additionally, discussions are underway with Israel and other stakeholders regarding the possibility of establishing a maritime corridor for humanitarian aid into Gaza, although logistical challenges need to be addressed for the corridor to become operational, a US official told CNN. (ANI)

 
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