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US resumes aid delivery into Gaza using floating pier but distribution has not resumed

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The US restarted delivering aid into Gaza using its temporary pier on Thursday, according to US Central Command.

The US dismantled the pier temporarily on June 14 for the second time since the pier was originally anchored on May 17. The pier was dismantled to avoid damages due to the anticipation of heavy seas, CENTOM said.

As CNN reported earlier, the pier was reattached on Wednesday.

The assistance delivered on Thursday included 1.4 million pounds of aid, the largest single-day delivery of aid to date, according to CENTCOM.

Crucially, though, the aid being delivered across the pier is not yet being distributed inside Gaza. The distribution partner, the UN World Food Programme, paused distribution while it conducts a broader security review.

“A thorough security assessment is being conducted by our Department of Safety and Security to ensure the safety of UN staff and partners. If that assessment can conclude that the UN can resume operations, then the World Food Programme stands ready to do so based on its core humanitarian principles,” UN deputy spokesman Farhan Haq said Thursday. “The basic problem is one of a lack of public order and that is creating a situation on the ground that is very difficult for the provision of aid.”

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World Food Programme chief Cindy McCain said in an interview with Al Monitor on Thursday that there has been “no change’ to the security situation in Gaza since Israel announced a “tactical pause” there last weekend.

“We still can’t get around. It’s a nice thought, but we don’t see any of that. I’m sure that they’re trying to do some things, but it’s not where we’re at. We haven’t been able to get in,” McCain said. We’ve had to reroute some of our trucks. They’ve been looted. As you know, we’ve been shot at, and we’ve been rocketed. So as far as we can tell, there’s no difference at all.”

To date, more than 9.1 million pounds of humanitarian aid have been delivered from the pier to the marshaling area where it can be collected by humanitarian organizations for onward delivery, the command said.

The first time the pier was reattached to the beach was after it was damaged in heavy seas. The damage to the pier was a major blow to the American-led effort to create a maritime corridor for humanitarian supplies into the war-torn enclave.

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The pier is the result of months of work by US officials trying to come up with a way to get aid into Gaza in addition to dropping it out of planes or trucking it through border checkpoints.

The temporary pier, called the Joint Logistics Over the Shore (JLOTS), requires very good sea conditions to operate. The US began constructing the pier and causeway in April, and it began operating on May 17.

The JLOTS system consists of two parts: the floating pier where shipments are offloaded and the causeway to transfer the shipments to the distribution point in Gaza.

The pier’s construction came as the humanitarian situation in Gaza deteriorated and the death toll from Israel’s bombardment climbed. In Gaza, the entire population has faced food insecurity.

US officials previously told CNN the US military is likely to operate the pier for at least three months, but the ultimate goal is to turn it into a full-time commercial operation that can be used by other countries and non-governmental organizations.

CNN’s Richard Roth and Natasha Bertrand contributed reporting.

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