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Aid ship sets sail from Cyprus to Gaza, where hunger is worsening 5 months into war

Port staffers prepare aid on a platform near to the docked ship belonging to the Open Arms aid group, as it prepares to ferry some 200 tonnes of rice and flour directly to Gaza, at the port in Larnaca, Cyprus, on Sunday, March 10, 2024.
Petros Karadjias
/
AP
Port staffers prepare aid on a platform near to the docked ship belonging to the Open Arms aid group, as it prepares to ferry some 200 tonnes of rice and flour directly to Gaza, at the port in Larnaca, Cyprus, on Sunday, March 10, 2024.

JERUSALEM — An aid ship loaded with some 200 tons of food set sail Tuesday from Cyprus to Gaza, the international charity behind the effort said.

The shipment is a test for the opening of a sea corridor to supply aid to the territory, where starvation is spreading five months into the Israel-Hamas war.

World Food Kitchen, the charity founded by celebrity chef José Andrés, posted on the X social media platform that a ship set sail on Tuesday. Associated Press live footage showed it being towed out of a harbor in the port city of Larnaca.

The United States has separately announced plans to construct a sea bridge near Gaza in order to deliver aid, but it will likely be several weeks before it is operational.

The 5-month-old war triggered by Hamas' Oct. 7 attack into Israel has killed over 30,000 Palestinians and driven some 80% of Gaza's 2.3 million people from their homes. The U.N. says a quarter of the population is starving. The attack that sparked the war killed some 1,200 people, and militants took around 250 hostage.

Aid groups say it is nearly impossible to deliver aid in much of the territory because of Israeli restrictions, ongoing hostilities and the breakdown of law and order after the Hamas-run police force largely vanished from the streets.

It's unclear how effective the sea deliveries will be in addressing the humanitarian catastrophe, as there will still be difficulties in delivering the aid once it is inside Gaza.

Copyright 2024 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

The Associated Press