The EU continues to work around the clock to channel humanitarian assistance to Gaza. A further six EU humanitarian air bridge flights are now scheduled for the coming days. Of these, two flights from Brindisi, Italy, are scheduled to depart today and tomorrow carrying 55 tonnes of items donated from the EU to the World Food Programme.
The cargo includes logistical items, such a mobile storage unit, cold-chain supplies and other items that will increase the capacity of humanitarian organisations to ensure a more efficient response for people in Gaza. A further three flights are due to depart next week from Bucharest carrying shelter material, such as tents and mattresses, donated by Romania. The remaining flight will depart from Ostend (Belgium) later this month carrying supplies from UN agencies and other humanitarian partners.
President Ursula von der Leyen said: “The European Union has always been the largest international donor to the Palestinian people. We remain committed to the humanitarian needs of the people of Gaza. This is why we are organising more aid flights to bring help to as many civilians as possible. Eight flights carrying much needed supplies have already reached Egypt, and six more are scheduled for the coming days. At the same time, we are working on complementary routes, such as a maritime corridor.”
Crisis Management Commissioner Janez Lenarčič (pictured) said: “We are witnessing a humanitarian catastrophe in the Gaza Strip. While the European Commission has quadrupled its humanitarian funding in the last month, we are also providing logistical support to our humanitarian partners on the ground, including by running an EU humanitarian air bridge operation to Egypt, transporting essential humanitarian supplies intended for the people in Gaza. But the biggest challenge for the Gazan civilian population as well as our humanitarian partners is a dramatically insufficient and unsafe access of humanitarian aid. I cannot reiterate enough how urgent it is that the warring parties finally heed the numerous calls to ensure unrestricted and sustained humanitarian access, including desperately needed fuel to run hospitals, bakeries, water stations and humanitarian action. And I most deeply deplore the extremely high number of deaths among aid workers there. To ensure their safety during their lifesaving efforts, there is no way around but for warring parties to most rapidly clearly define and respect meaningful humanitarian pauses.”
In total, this brings EU air bridge flights to 14 in the past weeks with over 550 tonnes of emergency aid for the people of Gaza being transported to Egypt for quick deployment across the Rafah border crossing point.
The press release is available online.
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