First aid ship to Gaza departs Cyprus port in pilot project


A ship transporting roughly 200 tons of food to Gaza departed a port in Cyprus early Tuesday in a pilot project to provide a new maritime channel for help to those on verge of famine.

The charity ship “Open Arms” sailed out of Larnaca port in Cyprus, towing a barge containing flour, rice and protein.

The 200-mile (320-kilometre) journey across the eastern Mediterranean to Gaza, with a hefty tow barge, could well take up to two days, Cypriot officials have speculated.

According to Ekathimerini, the mission, funded mostly by the United Arab Emirates, is organised by US-based charity World Central Kitchen (WCK), while Spanish charity Proactiva Open Arms supplied the ship.

“Our goal is to establish a maritime highway of boats and barges stocked with millions of meals continuously headed towards Gaza,” said WCK founder Jose Andres and chief executive officer Erin Gore in a statement.

WCK says it has a further 500 tons of aid in Cyprus ready for dispatch.

If successful, the mission will mark the first easing of an Israeli naval embargo imposed on Gaza in 2007 after Hamas gained control of the Palestinian enclave.

Source: Ekathimerini




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