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US wants 'as many channels as possible' to deliver aid to Gaza
US wants 'as many channels as possible' to deliver aid to Gaza
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US wants 'as many channels as possible' to deliver aid to Gaza
by DZRH News06 March 2024
Over 38,000 Meals Ready to Eat and water destined for an airdrop over Gaza are loaded aboard a U.S. Air Force C-130J Super Hercules at an undisclosed location in Southwest Asia, March 1, 2024. U.S. Air Force/Handout via REUTERS

By Humeyra Pamuk and Simon Lewis

WASHINGTON (Reuters) -The United States is working to get aid into Gaza through as many channels as possible to help remedy a humanitarian disaster amid Israel's war with Hamas militants, the State Department said on Monday, describing the situation as "simply intolerable."

State Department spokesperson Matthew Miller told a daily briefing that Washington was "optimistic" about the potential of a maritime aid corridor to Gaza that it has been working on and U.S. military's airdrops were also set to continue.

"Our goal is clear, to establish a comprehensive aid strategy that includes air, land and sea route to maximize the flow of humanitarian aid into Gaza and ensure that aid is distributed to everyone in Gaza who needs it," Miller said.

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He said the Biden administration was continuing to press Israel to open another border crossing to facilitate aid for the northern part of the enclave, where more than half a million people were on the brink of famine and looting was a major impediment to the distribution of aid.

He said the new maritime corridor was still in development and declined to give any details such as where shipments would be offloaded in Gaza or whether the U.S. military would be involved.

In addition to trucks carrying aid through two border crossings in the south of Gaza, the U.S. military, along with allied nations, has in recent days dropped aid packages into Gaza from aircraft, amid warnings much of the population is on the verge of famine.

"Parents are facing impossible choices about how to feed their children. Many don't know where the next meal will come from, or if it will come at all...that's why the United States is focused on increasing and sustaining aid in Gaza through as many channels as possible," Miller said.

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He emphasized that the air and sea routes were supplements to land deliveries but declined to project when a third border crossing may be opened. He said Washington made it clear to Israel that the situation at the moment was "unacceptable."

"We will continue to press the government of Israel to facilitate increased deliveries to the north," Miller said. Washington was "very much not satisfied" with Israel's efforts.

U.S. calls for Israel to do more to address the humanitarian crisis have grown louder since the deaths of Palestinians lining up for aid in Gaza last week, with Vice President Kamala Harris on Sunday calling on Israel to do more.

Gaza health authorities said 118 people were killed, attributing the deaths to Israeli fire and calling it a massacre. Israel, which says many people were trampled or run over, has pledged to investigate.

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The U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs says a quarter of the population - 576,000 people - are one step from famine, nearly five months after Israel's assault on Gaza began.

Israel launched the war in response to attacks on southern Israel by Hamas militants on Oct. 7 that killed about 1,200 people. Palestinian authorities say more than 30,000 people have been confirmed killed in Gaza.

The Biden administration continues to push for a temporary pause in fighting in exchange for the release of hostages taken on Oct. 7, to allow for improvement of the humanitarian situation, Miller said.

(Reporting by Humeyra Pamuk and Simon Lewis; editing by Jonathan Oatis and Cynthia Osterman)

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