Gaza Aid From José Andrés’s World Central Kitchen May Depart Within Days, Officials Say

By John Mercury March 11, 2024

The first sea shipment of humanitarian relief to Gaza — food aid from the World Central Kitchen aid agency — could depart the Mediterranean island nation of Cyprus by Saturday, weather permitting, Cypriot officials said on Friday.

Ursula von der Leyen, the president of the European Union’s executive body, described the shipment as a “pilot project” for a maritime aid corridor to Gaza, but offered few details of how it would take place or where in the territory it would be delivered.

The renowned Spanish chef José Andrés, the founder of the World Central Kitchen, posted images on social media on Friday showing pallets being loaded onto a vessel stamped with the names of his group and Open Arms, a Spanish aid group. He said that the plans for the shipment were “in the final stages,” and that it would “land in the beaches of Gaza with 200 pallets.” It remained unclear how the aid, if it reached Gaza, would be collected or distributed.

Since October, organizers and Palestinian cooks working with the World Central Kitchen have served more than 32 million meals in Gaza, the group has said. Its efforts could be bolstered by U.S. military plans to build a floating pier to bring more aid into Gaza, and announcements by Britain, the European Union and other nations on Friday that they would establish a maritime corridor for aid into the territory.

In an interview on Thursday, after the United States announced plans to build the floating pier, Mr. Andrés said it would give the group critical access to a steady supply of food they’d need to more than double the meals they’re serving daily and further aid people in the northern portion of Gaza.

“We’re trying to do the impossible,” he said. “It’s worth trying the impossible to feed the people of Gaza.”


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