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UK aid arrives in Gaza as pier begins operations

RFA Cardigan Bay has been involved in the construction of the temporary pier off the coast of Gaza (MoD/PA)
RFA Cardigan Bay has been involved in the construction of the temporary pier off the coast of Gaza (MoD/PA)

UK aid has arrived in Gaza as part of the first delivery using a temporary pier off the region’s coast.

The Prime Minister said the delivery of 8,400 temporary plastic shelters was “the culmination of a herculean joint international effort” to establish a maritime route for aid to Gaza.

More British aid is expected to be delivered via the pier, built by the US armed forces, in the coming weeks, including tents, hygiene kits and forklift trucks.

But ministers stressed that further work was needed to get aid into Gaza, especially using land routes.

Lord David Cameron, the Foreign Secretary, said the maritime route was “just one part of the bigger picture” and land routes were “the most effective means of getting aid into Gaza at the scale needed”.

He added: “Gazans are at risk of famine and in desperate need of supplies – Israel must ensure land routes are open and that aid gets safely to where it is needed.”

The UK has played a supporting role in the construction of the pier, which was anchored to the shore on Thursday, providing accommodation for US personnel on the Royal Fleet Auxiliary vessel Cardigan Bay.

The pier is expected to provide access for 90 truckloads of aid at first, increasing to 150 truckloads once it is fully operational.

Both the Prime Minister and Lord Cameron reiterated calls for Israel to meet its commitment to allow at least 500 aid trucks a day into Gaza through land crossings, and to open as many routes as possible for aid to access the territory.