UN food agency says aid convoy turned away by Israel, looted

UN food agency says aid convoy turned away by Israel, looted
UN food agency says aid convoy turned away by Israel, looted

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Nevin Al Sukari - Sana'a - In this image grab from an AFPTV video, people carry food parcels that were air-dropped from US aircrafts above a beach in the Gaza Strip, on March 2, 2024. — AFP pic

ROME, March 6 — The UN’s food agency yesterday said that its aid convoy had been turned away by Israeli forces at a checkpoint to northern Gaza, after which it was looted by “desperate people”.

The World Food Programme said the 14-truck food convoy waited at the Wadi Gaza checkpoint, inside southeast Gaza, for three hours before being turned away by the Israeli army.

It was the first convoy attempted since the agency halted deliveries to the north of Gaza on February 20, after its convoy of trucks faced gunfire and looting.

At the time, the agency described the situation in northern Gaza as “complete chaos and violence due to the collapse of civil order”.

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In yesterday’s incident, after the trucks were rerouted they were stopped by “a large crowd of desperate people who looted the food”, taking about 200 tons, the WFP said in a statement.

The agency said that it was exploring all ways to bring food to northern Gaza, but that roads were the only way to transport large quantities of food needed to avert famine.

An airdrop earlier yesterday, in conjunction with Jordan’s air force, dropped six tons of food, enough for 20,000 people, it said.

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“Airdrops are a last resort and will not avert famine. We need entry points to northern Gaza that will allow us to deliver enough food for half a million people in desperate need,” the agency’s deputy executive director Carl Skau said.

Skau told the UN Security Council last week that a famine was imminent in northern Gaza if conditions remain unchanged.

The UN estimates that 2.2 million people — most of Gaza’s population — are on the brink of famine, particularly in the north where Israeli forces block aid from entering.

Yesterday, the WFP said hunger had reached “catastrophic levels” in the north.

“Children are dying of hunger-related diseases and suffering severe levels of malnutrition,” it said, calling for more entry points into Gaza, including the north.

It said a ceasefire was urgently needed.

Since the start of the war between Israel and Hamas, Gaza has been plunged into a food crisis, with outside aid severely restricted. — AFP

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