WhatsApp Logo Subscribe
For News Alert

News

Spanish aid vessel visible off Gaza coast: AFP journalist

Australia resumes aid to UN agency for Palestinians

By AFP

March 15, 2024 08:28 AM


Twitter Share Facebook Share WhatsApp Share

 

The first aid vessel heading to the besieged Gaza Strip via a new maritime corridor was visible Friday off the coast of the war-ravaged territory, an AFP journalist said.

AFP video footage and photographs showed the Open Arms towing a barge which the Spanish charity operating it says is carrying 200 tonnes of food for Gazans threatened with famine after more than five months of war.

The specialist site Vessel Finder showed the Open Arms roughly five kilometres (three miles) off the coast of northern Gaza.

A handful of civilians gathered on the rubble-strewn coast on Friday to watch the vessel, AFP footage showed, though it was unclear when it would actually reach shore.

The food has been supplied by the US NGO World Central Kitchen, which has a team in Gaza building a jetty onto which the cargo can be unloaded.

Cyprus, the Mediterranean nation which is the starting point for the maritime corridor, has said a second, bigger vessel is being readied to make the same journey.

However, the sea missions and airdrops are "no alternative" to land deliveries, 25 organisations including Amnesty International and Oxfam said in a statement this week.

The health ministry in Hamas-run Gaza has in recent weeks recorded at least 27 deaths from malnutrition and dehydration, most of them children.

The war in Gaza began with Hamas's unprecedented October 7 attack on southern Israel which resulted in the deaths of about 1,160 people, mostly civilians, according to an AFP tally of official Israeli figures.

Israel's retaliatory military campaign to eliminate Hamas has killed at least 31,341 people, according to the health ministry.

Australia said Friday it will resume funding for the UN's Palestinian refugee agency, after investigating claims some staff were linked to the Hamas attack on October 7.

The UN agency for Palestinian refugees -- UNRWA -- has been at the centre of controversy since Israel accused 12 of its employees of working with Islamist group Hamas.

About 15 countries, including the United States, Canada, Australia and Japan pulled support from the agency earlier this year -- slashing its funds by an estimated US$450 million.

"The nature of these allegations warranted an immediate and appropriate response," Australian Foreign Minister Penny Wong said Friday.

"The best available current advice from agencies and Australian government lawyers is that UNRWA is not a terrorist organisation.

"After consideration by the national security committee this week, Australia is unpausing our contribution to UNRWA."

The Canadian and Swedish governments announced they were resuming funding for the cash-strapped agency earlier this month, infuriating Israeli officials.

Wong said Australia would resume its stalled US$4 million contribution after the aid agency agreed to put in additional safeguards.

"I know there are people starving in Gaza," she told reporters.

"I know that UNRWA is critical to providing this assistance to people who are on the brink."

Hamas's October 7 attack on southern Israel resulted in about 1,160 deaths, most of them civilians, according to an AFP tally based on official figures.

Israel's retaliatory military campaign has killed at least 31,341 people in Gaza, mostly women and children, according to the Hamas-ruled territory's health ministry.


AFP


Most Read

  1. More flights cancelled from Karachi Airport More flights cancelled from Karachi Airport
  2. Missing young boy found dead at Islamabad’s Trail 5 Missing young boy found dead at Islamabad’s Trail 5
  3. Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif declares May 28 as official holiday to celebrate Youm-e-Takbeer Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif declares May 28 as official holiday to celebrate Youm-e-Takbeer
  4. Hardik Pandya to forfeit 70% of assets to Natasha in divorce settlement? Hardik Pandya to forfeit 70% of assets to Natasha in divorce settlement?
  5. Rabeeca Khan and Hussain Tareen seal their bond from ‘Best Friends to Life Partners’ Rabeeca Khan and Hussain Tareen seal their bond from ‘Best Friends to Life Partners’
  6. Netizens call out Shiraz's father for cheap publicity stunt Netizens call out Shiraz's father for cheap publicity stunt

Opinion

  1. Congo coup failed, Malanga killed
    Congo coup failed, Malanga killed

    By Naveed Aman Khan

  2. Hats off to Fatah-II
    Hats off to Fatah-II

    By Naveed Aman Khan

  3. New twist in PTI founder’s strategy towards Military Establishment
    New twist in PTI founder’s strategy towards Military Establishment

    By Salim Bokhari

  4. Revoke the heat stroke
    Revoke the heat stroke

    By Dr Asif Channer

  5. Defiance, sacrifice & national resilience
    Defiance, sacrifice & national resilience

    By Naveed Aman Khan

  6. Maryam Nawaz Sharif's Police Uniform: Breaking Gender Stereotypes, Not Minds
    Maryam Nawaz Sharif's Police Uniform: Breaking Gender Stereotypes, Not Minds

    By Alysha Khan