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Gaza Pier Sidelined For Repairs After 8 Days, Pentagon Says

The Pentagon in Arlington County, Virginia. (Dreamstime/TNS)
May 29, 2024

Parts of the U.S. military’s Gaza humanitarian aid pier have broken off and scattered in recent days, leaving the pier in a state of disrepair, the Pentagon has confirmed.

Addressing reporters on Tuesday, Deputy Pentagon Press Secretary Sabrine Singh confirmed reports that parts of the humanitarian causeway—dubbed the Trident Pier—separated and drifted away from the Gazan shoreline on Saturday, and again earlier that day.

“On Saturday, May 25th, four U.S. Army vessels supporting the maritime humanitarian aid mission in Gaza were affected by heavy sea states, causing these motorized pier sections, which are used to stabilize the Trident Pier, to break free from their anchors due to a loss in power and subsequently beach ashore,” Singh said.

The U.S. military has since recovered one of the Army vessels that beached ashore near the southern Israeli city of Ashkelon. Singh said a second Army vessel is also beached in Ashkelon and will be in the next 24 hours. The other two vessels beached closer to the humanitarian pier and “are expected to be recovered in the next 48 hours,” with Israeli Navy assistance.

“In addition, due to high sea states and the North African weather system, earlier today, a portion of the Trident Pier separated from the pier that is currently anchored into the coast of Gaza,” Singh added. “As a result, the Trident Pier was damaged and sections of the pier need rebuilding and repairing.”

Due to the damages, Singh said the pier’s operators will tow the structure away from the Gaza shoreline, north to the southern Israeli city of Ashdod. She said these repairs will take over a week to complete.

The initial effort to construct and anchor the pier to the Gazan shoreline met with delays, pushing the start of its operations back from an early May estimate. The first delivery trucks rolled off of boats and across the pier on May 17.

In the eight days the Trident Pier remained operational, Singh said around 1,000 metric tons of supplies flowed through. She said the pier has proved “highly valuable” and thus the U.S. intends to re-anchor it and resume humanitarian operations.

Singh estimated it cost the U.S. approximately $320 million to initially make the pier operational. She did not provide an estimate of the revised costs to repair and restore the pier.

“I don’t have an updated budget cost, but our initial assessments is — is still approximately around $300 million,” she said. “Should that change, should that fluctuate either up or down, I’d certainly let you know.”

Getting food and other humanitarian supplies into the Gaza Strip remains a challenge nearly eight months on in the current fighting.

The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) estimates a daily average of 500 truckloads of supplies was needed to sustain the Gaza Strip’s population before the current conflict. UNRWA estimates 25,399 truckloads of supplies have reached the territory through a pair of land crossings in the 235 days since the fighting began on Oct. 7; an average of 108 trucks a day.

UNRWA reports 1,479 trucks have entered the Gaza Strip through the land crossings thus far in May, a daily average of 51 trucks.

Along with the Trident Pier, the U.S. has attempted to supplement overland aid deliveries with airdropped humanitarian supplies. Neighboring Arab countries have also made some airdrops.

The most recent United Nations Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC) analysis, current as of March and averaging conditions across the entire Gaza Strip, placed the territory IPC Stage-4 “Emergency” status. This is the second worst IPC food insecurity rating, behind Stage 5 “Famine.”

The IPC analysis estimates 70 percent of the population in northern Gaza area could be living under IPC famine conditions by July. The IPC analysis estimates 50 percent of the middle part of the Gaza Strip will be in IPC Stage 4 and 50 percent in Stage 5 by July. In the southern part of the Gaza Strip, the latest IPC projections are that 20 percent will be in IPC Stage 3 “Crisis,” 35 percent in Stage 4, and 45 percent in Stage 5.

This article was originally published by FreeBase News and is reprinted with permission.