'Illusion': Aid airdrops into Gaza slammed by humanitarian organisations

An aircraft airdrops humanitarian aid over Gaza the northern Gaza Strip, as seen from southern Israel, Friday, March 8, 2024.
An aircraft airdrops humanitarian aid over Gaza the northern Gaza Strip, as seen from southern Israel, Friday, March 8, 2024. Copyright Leo Correa/Copyright 2024 The AP. All rights reserved.
By Euronews
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NGOs called a permanent ceasefire in Gaza, saying states hide behind airdrops to "create the illusion that they are doing enough."

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Twenty-five leading human rights organisations have criticised deliveries of aid into Gaza by air and sea, claiming they are “not an alternative" to land. 

In a joint press release, the NGOs - including Amnesty, Action Aid International and Oxfam - urged states to focus on achieving a permanent ceasefire and “safe and unhindered” humanitarian access through land crossings into the Palestinian enclave. 

“States cannot hide behind airdrops and efforts to open a maritime corridor to create the illusion that they are doing enough to support the needs in Gaza," the 25 NGOs wrote.

"Their primary responsibility is to prevent atrocity crimes from unfolding and apply effective political pressure to end the relentless bombardment and the restrictions which prevent the safe delivery of humanitarian aid.” 

Other humanitarian organisations and states have claimed airdrops are the best solution available, given the complex political and security situation on the ground. 

Gaza is currently gripped by a hunger crisis after five months of war, with its health ministry estimating last week that at least 20 people have died from malnutrition and dehydration in hospitals in North Gaza.

The World Health Organization (WHO) confirmed its team witnessed at least 10 children die of starvation during their visit the weekend before. 

Israeli forces have been accused of denying access to - and firing on - aid convoys over land to Gaza. Israel denies blocking aid and has instead blamed UN agencies for "backlogs".

A worsening security situation, especially in the north, where crowds of desperate Palestinians and gangs have attacked aid trucks, previously forced humanitarian organisations to halt supplies, meanwhile. 

Western countries and organisations have reacted by trying to deliver more food aid to Gaza, with the US making its first Gaza aid airdrop earlier this month. 

On Tuesday, a Spanish ship sailed off from Cyprus carrying 200 tonnes of flour and rice for Palestinians in Gaza.

But while the ship’s journey is considered a test for the opening of a sea corridor to supply aid to the territory, NGOs have slammed the efforts, saying it’s not enough.

“While States have recently ramped up airdrops of aid in Gaza, humanitarian professionals stress that this method of aid delivery alone has in no way the capacity to meet the massive needs in the enclave,” they write. 

“2.3 million people living in a catastrophic state of survival cannot be fed and healed by airdrops. “

Airdrops can deliver only a few tonnes of food aid, whereas a convoy of five trucks can carry about 100 tonnes “of lifesaving assistance”, the NGOs say.

They also allow aid organisations to better ensure assistance is properly allocated to those who need it. 

While they recognise that every aid reaching Gaza at this time is needed, the groups fear that creating “dangerous precedents” might lead to the ultimate degradation of humanitarian access through land in Gaza and the prolongation of hostilities.

Five children were killed last week in a humanitarian airdrop from an unidentified country, as people ran towards the packages being parachuted down.

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