Foreign,Commonwealth and Development Office
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UK to boost aid support for Gaza by sea

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Ministry of Defence

UK government announces new package of military and civilian support to set up a maritime aid corridor to Gaza.

The UK government recently (06 April 2024) announced a package of military and civilian support to set up a maritime aid corridor to Gaza, including the deployment of a Royal Navy ship to join the life-saving mission in the Eastern Mediterranean.

The ship, alongside new UK aid and British expertise, will support the establishment of an international humanitarian maritime corridor from Cyprus to Gaza, supported by many of our partner governments and the UN, and is expected to be operational in early May.

As well as the Royal Navy ship from the Ministry of Defence , the FCDO is also committing up to £9.7 million for aid deliveries; logistical expertise and equipment support to the corridor, such as forklift trucks and storage units; and expertise, to maximise the levels of aid reaching those people who desperately need it. 

Saturday marked 6 months since the devastating October 7 terrorist attacks, and almost a week since British aid workers were killed trying to get life-saving food to those in need. The UK continues to call for an immediate humanitarian pause leading to a sustainable ceasefire, as the fastest way to get hostages safely home and more aid in.

In the meantime, the UK government is doing everything possible to get more aid into Gaza by land, air and sea. In recent weeks, the Royal Air Force has conducted 5 airdrops along the coastline of Gaza, safely delivering over 40 tonnes of food supplies, including water, flour and baby formula. 

Supporting the Jordanian humanitarian land corridor from Amman into Gaza and in partnership with the World Food Programme, the UK’s largest delivery of aid crossed the border on 13 March which saw more than 2,000 tonnes of food aid being distributed on the ground to families in need. Land deliveries will now be scaled up with the opening of the Erez crossing, which the UK wants to see reopened permanently. 

A full UK field hospital run by UK-Med is also now fully operational in Gaza and providing life-saving care. It has already treated more than 3,000 people, almost half of them children. 

Foreign Secretary David Cameron recently said: 

The situation in Gaza is dire and the prospect of famine is real. We remain committed to getting aid to those who so desperately need it. Along with the US, Cyprus and other partners, we are setting up a new temporary pier off the coast of Gaza to get aid in as quickly and securely as possible.

Land access remains crucial to deliver aid at the scale now required. The opening of Erez and the Port of Ashdod is hugely welcome and something the UK has long been calling for. Israel has also agreed to increase the number of aid trucks entering Gaza to a minimum of 500 a day. But we need to continue to explore all options, including by sea and air, to ease the desperate plight of some of the world’s most vulnerable people.

Gazans are facing a devastating humanitarian crisis and there needs to be a significant increase in the volume of vital supplies entering the territory by all routes, as well as changes to ensure aid can safely be delivered on the ground.

Following the killing of World Central Kitchen aid workers last week, the UK government continues to call for urgent reform of deconfliction mechanisms, alongside assurances that guarantee the safety and security of humanitarian aid workers, who work tirelessly on the ground to ensure vital aid supplies reach those who need it most.

The multinational maritime corridor initiative will see tens of thousands of tonnes of aid pre-screened in Cyprus and delivered directly to Gaza, via the new US temporary pier being constructed off the coast or via Ashdod Port, which Israel has now agreed to open. The Prime Minister raised the importance of opening Ashdod to facilitate humanitarian aid earlier this week. 

Defence Secretary Grant Shapps recently commented:

A Royal Navy ship is now en-route to the Eastern Mediterranean to support international efforts to get life-saving aid to Gaza. 

The Armed Forces are playing a central role in delivering aid, with the Royal Air Force recently completing 5 airdrops of food supplies for the people of Gaza. We are now going further, working with international partners to set up a humanitarian maritime corridor from Cyprus to Gaza. A new temporary pier on the coast of Gaza will be critical to supporting these efforts, by hosting cargo ships to deliver aid by sea. 

I would like to thank all the personnel involved in this effort, working around the clock to help provide critical aid under immensely challenging circumstances.

British military teams have been embedded with planning teams in the US operational HQ in Tampa as well as in Cyprus for several weeks to jointly develop the safest and most effective maritime route. The UK Hydrographic Office has also shared analysis of the Gazan shore with US planners to help establish the temporary aid pier.

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Original article link: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/uk-to-boost-aid-support-for-gaza-by-sea

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