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Second aid shipment for Gaza ready to sail from Cyprus, says its president

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A second cargo of food aid was ready to depart by sea from Cyprus to Gaza on Saturday, the island's president said, after a first aid shipment landed in the besieged Palestinian enclave overnight.

 Nikos Christodoulides © Mena Today 

A second cargo of food aid was ready to depart by sea from Cyprus to Gaza on Saturday, the island's president said, after a first aid shipment landed in the besieged Palestinian enclave overnight.

Almost 200 tons of food arrived in the enclave late on Friday, the first shipment in a new aid route to the Gaza Strip, devastated by five months of war.

"The first ship has started its return to Cyprus, and we are ready to dispatch the second ship," Cypriot President Nikos Christodoulides told journalists.

The second ship, with 240 tons of aid, was moored at Larnaca port awaiting a signal to sail.

U.S. based charity World Central Kitchen (WCK), which arranged the mission with the UAE and Spanish charity Open Arms with support from the Cypriot government, said the new shipment included pallets of canned goods and bulk products.

WCK said the second boat also had two forklifts and a crane to assist with future maritime deliveries to Gaza. A crew ship would accompany the cargo boat with eight workers to operate the machinery and offload the aid, it said.

In the first mission, the charity offloaded aid onto a makeshift jetty WCK built from the rubble of destroyed buildings.

"Hopefully, this corridor we open today will be a pathway alongside the terrestrial ones to alleviate hunger, relieve suffering, and restore humanity to the civilian population," Open Arms, which provided the ship, said on Friday on X.

The main U.N. agency operating in Gaza said on Saturday that one in three children under age 2 in northern Gaza is now acutely malnourished and famine is looming.

Israel's air and ground campaign in Gaza, triggered by Hamas' attack on Oct. 7, has displaced most of the enclave's 2.3 million population and left people in dire need of food and other essentials.

Reporting by Stamos Prousalis, Yiannis Kourtoglou and Michele Kambas

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