April 21, 2024

Explainer – How will the US end aid to Gaza? – March 1, 2024 at 11:53 pm

The US military will airlift food and supplies into Gaza in the coming days. Other countries such as France, Jordan and Egypt have already done so.

How does help fall from the air?

US will use military aircraft to drop aid on Gaza. Although it is not yet clear what type of aircraft will be used, the C-17 and C-130 are most suitable for this mission. According to the US Air Force, a C-130 can hold 16 pallets, while a C-17 can carry 40 pallets.

Military personnel on the ground load the relief supplies onto pallets, then load them onto the plane and lock them there.

Once the plane is over the area where the supplies are needed, the latch is released and the pallets travel to the ground using a parachute attached to the pallets.

What are the risks?

Although the military can assess weather conditions in advance, wind plays a large role in ensuring that relief supplies land where they need to go. Videos on social media show some of the aid given by other countries ending up at sea.

Officials say the Gaza Strip's dense population makes it difficult to ensure aid reaches people in need and doesn't end up in an inaccessible area.

“It's very difficult to conduct a drop in a congested area like Gaza,” said John Kirby, President Joe Biden's top national security spokesman.

Officials also say that without a US military presence on the ground, there is no guarantee that aid will not end up in the hands of Hamas.

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What are some examples of past airdrops?

Every Christmas, the U.S. military drops humanitarian supplies on remote islands in the Pacific as part of “Operation Christmas Drop.”

In 2014, the U.S. military withdrew aid in northern Iraq as civilians fell to Islamic State militants. During these few months, 100,000 meals and 96,000 water bottles were dropped off.

What options are considered?

On Friday, President Joe Biden told reporters that the United States is also exploring the possibility of a sea route to deliver large amounts of aid to Gaza.

A U.S. official said one possible option was to take aid by sea from Cyprus, about 210 nautical miles off Gaza's Mediterranean coast.

No decision has yet been made on military involvement in such an operation, the official said, adding that the Israelis are “very receptive” to the sea transport option because it avoids delays caused by protesters.

However, the fact remains that deploying the army by sea is a major challenge as there is no clear place to unload relief supplies from ships.