US to temporarily remove Gaza pier due to sea conditions

WASHINGTON — The U.S. military is preparing to temporarily remove its humanitarian pier off the coast of Gaza because of anticipated sea conditions, a U.S. official said on Friday. This marks the latest challenge for an effort that has been hampered by bad weather since its installation in May.

The floating U.S. military pier, which had resumed bringing humanitarian aid into Gaza after a weekend suspension, will likely be moved to the Israeli port of Ashdod until sea conditions improve, according to the official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity.

Aid began arriving via the U.S.-built pier on May 17. The United Nations reported transporting 137 trucks of aid, amounting to approximately 900 metric tons, to warehouses before operations were suspended on May 28 for repairs.

As of Friday, the United Nations had not resumed transporting aid from the pier to World Food Programme warehouses. “Our security colleagues are still working to ensure that secure conditions for humanitarian work can be re-established,” said deputy U.N. spokesperson Farhan Haq.

The pier was part of a plan announced by President Biden in March to facilitate aid deliveries as famine loomed in Gaza, an enclave of 2.3 million people governed by Hamas, during the ongoing conflict between Israel and Palestinian militants.

The pier’s initial 90-day operation is estimated to cost hundreds of millions of dollars and involves approximately 1,000 U.S. service members.