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More U.S. aid airdropped into Gaza

A general view taken from the Israeli side of the border shows aid parcels being airdropped over the northern Gaza Strip on March 5. Belgium sent on March 4 a military transport plane to join an international operation to airdrop aid into Gaza also involving the United States, France and Jordan, officials said.
Nicolas Garcia
/
AFP via Getty Images
A general view taken from the Israeli side of the border shows aid parcels being airdropped over the northern Gaza Strip on March 5. Belgium sent on March 4 a military transport plane to join an international operation to airdrop aid into Gaza also involving the United States, France and Jordan, officials said.

Updated March 5, 2024 at 9:28 AM ET

Additional U.S. aid was airdropped into Gaza on Tuesday amid a deepening humanitarian crisis, U.S. Central Command said.

This comes in the wake of an initial U.S. military aircraft airdrop, in coordination with the Royal Jordanian Air Force, over the weekend. Tuesday's operation was also conducted by the U.S. and Jordan.

According to U.S. Central Command, U.S. C-130s dropped over 36,800 U.S. and Jordanian meal equivalents in northern Gaza. U.S. officials have said this will be a sustained campaign and that they're looking at all options, including possibly getting aid in by sea, and pushing Israeli authorities to open more crossings and allow more trucks into Gaza.

"The DoD humanitarian airdrops contribute to ongoing U.S. and partner nation government efforts to provide life-saving humanitarian assistance to the people in Gaza," CENTCOM said in a statement. "We continue planning for follow-on aid delivery missions."

The first U.S. aid drop supplied Gazans with more than 38,000 meals.

Aid groups say airdrops alone are far from sufficient given the scale of the crisis.

The collapse in the delivery of humanitarian aid to Gaza has produced gut-wrenching outcomes: Children dying of malnourishment, desperately hungry Palestinians rushing aid trucks to feed their families, and on Thursday morning, scores killed trying to access aid from a convoy going into Gaza City.

The routes to take aid in by land rely on a number of factors, such as border crossings, availability of drivers in Gaza to receive the trucks and drive the supplies where they need to go as well as having clearance from the Israeli military for safe passage.

But the fact that little — or not nearly enough — aid has actually made it into Gaza has prompted several countries to use airdrops to deliver aid. According to the U.N. Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), a quarter of Gaza's roughly 2.2 million people are "one step away from famine."

Access to the Gaza Strip has been severely limited since the start of the war on Oct. 7. That's when Hamas led an attack on Israel, killing 1,200 people and kidnapping 240, according to Israeli officials. The Israeli response has killed at least 30,320 Palestinians, according to Gaza's Health Ministry.

With reporting by D. Parvaz

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NPR Washington Desk