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15 June, 2024
 
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U.S. troops en route to Gaza to construct humanitarian aid pier

The floating pier is described as an extensive floating parking lot attached to an 1,800-foot walkway leading to shore

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In a pivotal effort to deliver urgently needed humanitarian aid to Gaza, hundreds of U.S. troops are mobilizing to construct a substantial floating pier off the war-torn enclave's coast. The deployment, authorized shortly before President Joe Biden's announcement during his State of the Union address last Thursday, marks a significant escalation in international efforts to alleviate the dire situation in Gaza.

The decision to dispatch troops comes five months after the outbreak of conflict in Gaza and amid ongoing Israeli restrictions on aid shipments, citing security concerns. Reports from international aid organizations indicate that several children have already succumbed to starvation, underscoring the urgency of the situation.

Troops and their families, caught off guard by the sudden deployment order, expressed the emotional toll of departing on short notice. Chief Warrant Officer Three Jason West, among the 500 Army soldiers departing from Newport News, Virginia, shared the difficulty of explaining the situation to his children, assuring them that their mission was to provide essential aid to those in need.

The construction of the floating pier, described as an extensive floating parking lot attached to an 1,800-foot walkway leading to shore, is expected to take at least 60 days. Once operational, the pier is projected to facilitate the delivery of approximately 2 million meals daily.

Notably, this marks the first deployment of this magnitude for the Joint Logistics-Over-the-Shore (JLOTS) system since 2010, when a similar pier was erected off the coast of Haiti. President Biden has reiterated a commitment to no U.S. ground presence in Gaza, emphasizing collaboration with Israeli forces and regional partners to secure the causeway and distribute aid packages.

While troops are slated to remain aboard ships throughout the deployment, the mission's duration remains indefinite, contingent upon the ongoing provision of humanitarian aid. According to West, the focus remains on sustaining aid efforts until the situation improves in Gaza.

Source: ABC News

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Cyprus  |  USA  |  Gaza  |  humanitarian aid

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