US pier for Gaza is nearly ready but humanitarian aid could be delayed by weather conditions

White House National Security Communications Adviser John Kirby told reporters on Thursday that weather in the region can be ‘unpredictable’

Andrew Feinberg
Washington DC
Friday 03 May 2024 12:02 BST
The aid port is a complex system built by US military and allies
The aid port is a complex system built by US military and allies (U.S military's Central Command)

Humanitarian aid bound for Gaza may be delayed because of poor weather conditions in the region, but the temporary port facility built by the US is largely complete.

White House National Security Communications Adviser John Kirby on Thursday told reporters the construction of the aid pier — which is being handled by US soldiers as part of what the US Defence Department calls a Joint Logistics Over-the-Shore operation — is almost ready, after he was asked when aid might begin flowing into Gaza through the new facility. The temporary port is a major project for the American military and other allies in the Middle East.

Kirby tempered his positive news on the port with a caveat.

“There's also some weather concerns in the eastern Mediterranean, which might affect the date at which you'll be able to start receiving humanitarian goods,” he said. Kirby, who is a retired US Navy Rear Admiral, added that based on his experience, the weather in that region “can be unpredictable”.

“I understand that weather right now is as much a factor as just about anything else,” he said.

Kirby’s remarks came just a day after Deputy Pentagon spokesperson Sabrina Singh told reporters that the “floating pier has been completely constructed and set up”.

Singh added that the “causeway” connecting the pier to the Gaza shore was “in progress” but she declined to state in detail when it might be fully finished.

“So in terms of a date of delivery, we’ve said from the beginning early May. We still believe that we’re on track to meet that, but I don’t have an exact date for you on when humanitarian aid — when we’re going to see those first trucks going into Gaza. But as soon as I have that date for you, we are of course going to keep you updated on that,” she said.

The floating platform is a complex system constructed in the sea, with a causeway for trucks carrying aid that is anchored to the beach by Israeli forces.

The US Department of Defense announced that construction had begun on April 25. The Independent has reached out for further comment on estimates about aid delivery.

Biden announced the construction of the aid pier during his State of the Union speech in March, after growing dissatisfaction among Democrats and Democratic voters with the president’s response to Netanyahu’s actions in Gaza. Pro-Palestine protests across American campuses in the past few days have only intensified questions about when humanitarian aid will reach the region.

The Israel-Hamas war began after Hamas terrorists invaded Israel on October 7 last year, taking numerous hostages. Some of those hostages have been returned, while others remain in the Palestinian territory. This week saw the release of a video of one of the hostages by Hamas.

Over 30,000 people — mostly women and children — are believed to have died in Gaza after Israeli bombardment.

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in