Gaza aid still departing Cyprus by sea while landing pier fixed, Cypriot official says

By Thomson Reuters May 30, 2024 | 5:45 AM

NICOSIA (Reuters) – Humanitarian aid for Gaza is continuing to depart Cyprus by sea and will be held in floating storage off the coast of the enclave until a U.S.-built military pier undergoes repairs, a Cypriot government official said on Thursday.

The U.S. military announced earlier in the week that a purpose-built jetty it anchored off Gaza’s coast to receive aid by sea was being temporarily removed after a part of the structure broke off, two weeks after it started operating.

Cyprus Government Spokesperson Konstantinos Letymbiotis said offloading aid had slowed down, but the sea corridor had not ceased operating.

“The mechanism surrounding how the floating pier works allows for the possibility of floating storage off Gaza, with offloading to resume when conditions allow,” he said, blaming the problem on rough seas.

The pier was announced by U.S. President Joe Biden in March

and involved the military assembling the floating structure off

the coast. Estimated to cost $320 million for the first 90 days

and involve about 1,000 U.S. service members, it went into

operation two weeks ago.

A Pentagon spokesperson said a portion of the pier had separated and that the pier would be towed to Ashdod port in Israel for repairs. Letymbiotis said their information from the U.S. was that the problem would be fixed in coming days and operation of the pier could ‘possibly’ resume by the middle of next week.

Eleven ship-shuttles of aid had left Cyprus since the operation started, with enough aid already disbursed to “provide food to tens of thousands of non-combatants for a month”, Letymbiotis said.

“The aim of offering humanitarian aid to 500,000 people a month is possible,” he said.

(Reporting by Michele Kambas; Editing by Toby Chopra)