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A small convoy enters the Gaza Strip from Egypt, carrying much-needed medicine and food supplies.
The Rafah border crossing between Egypt and Gaza has also been opened to allow Palestinians suffering from shortages of food, medicine and water in the Israeli-besieged territory.
A convoy including 20 aid trucks entered the Gaza Strip from Egypt on Saturday, carrying medicine and food, according to a statement from the Palestinian group Hamas.
More than 200 trucks carrying around 3,000 tonnes of aid had been parked near the crossing for several days before heading to Gaza.
“The relief aid convoy that will enter today includes 20 trucks carrying medicine, medical supplies and a small amount of food (canned goods),” Hamas’s media office said earlier.
Martin Griffiths, the UN’s emergency relief coordinator, welcomed the delivery, which he said “followed days of deep and intensive negotiations with all parties involved to ensure that aid operations inside Gaza can be resumed as quickly as possible and under the right conditions”.
“I believe this delivery will be the start of a sustained effort to provide the people of Gaza with safe, reliable, unconditional and uninterrupted supplies of essential goods, including food, water, medicine and fuel,” he added.
For two weeks, Israel has blockaded the territory and launched a wave of punitive airstrikes following the Oct. 7 rampage by Hamas militants on towns in southern Israel.
Al Jazeera’s James Pace says that while the opening of the Rafah crossing is “significant”, it will lead to more aid being sent to Gaza, and experts say more aid is needed.
“I would say 20 trucks, based on the aid coming into Gaza before this conflict started – about 100 trucks a day of aid… so it’s really a drop in the ocean,” he said.
Many in Gaza, forced to eat one meal a day and without enough water to drink, are desperate for help. Hospital staff were also in urgent need of medical supplies and fuel for generators while treating thousands of people injured in the blasts.
World Food Program Executive Director Cindy McCain told Al Jazeera that 20 trucks of aid is not enough.
“The situation inside Gaza is dire. No food, no water, no electricity, no fuel. That combination can lead not only to disaster, but also to starvation and disease,” he said. “We need to get more trucks.”
Israel has sealed off the territory for two weeks, forcing Palestinians to eat and drink contaminated water from wells. Hospitals say there is a shortage of medicine and fuel for emergency generators amid the blackout across the region.
Hamas’s media office issued a statement on Saturday saying the expected truckload of aid “will not change the catastrophic medical conditions in Gaza”.
This is a growing story. More to follow.