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Second ship loaded with Gaza aid from Cyprus, says charity

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A second ship with food aid to Gaza was being loaded in Cyprus, a charity arranging the mission said on Thursday, as the first ship in a pilot trial of maritime deliveries neared the besieged Palestinian enclave.

Humanitarian aid for Gaza is loaded on a cargo ship in the port of Larnaca, Cyprus, March 14, 2024. Reuters/Yiannis Kourtoglou

A second ship with food aid to Gaza was being loaded in Cyprus, a charity arranging the mission said on Thursday, as the first ship in a pilot trial of maritime deliveries neared the besieged Palestinian enclave.

World Central Kitchen (WCK) said it was loading a vessel at Larnaca port with 300 tonnes of food aid - including legumes, canned tuna, vegetables, rice and flour.

"Our pallets should be screened and loaded by the end of the day Cyprus time," WCK said in a statement. It did not say when the vessel would set sail.

Cyprus is screening aid cargos on the island in a process including Israel to eliminate security checks at off-loading destinations, officials say.

A ship towing a barge carrying almost 200 tonnes of food aid for Gaza left Cyprus on Tuesday, charting a new route to deliver emergency supplies to a population humanitarian agencies say is at risk of starvation after more than five months of war.

WCK, which is working with the United Arab Emirates and Spanish charity Proactiva Open Arms with support from the Cypriot government, said it would not provide voyage details for security reasons.

The charity is preparing a jetty in Gaza to receive aid which was almost 60 metres long, WCF founder Jose Andres said in a post on X late Wednesday. Unverified video posted on social media showed a bulldozer reversing over a hardpacked rubble jetty on the Gaza shore.

WCF says its initiative is unrelated to a larger multinational effort to set up a maritime aid corridor into Gaza.

In Nicosia, Cyprus foreign minister Constantinos Kombos said a high-level meeting would take place on March 21 to coordinate further distribution of aid.

Reporting by Michele Kambas; Editing by Ros Russell

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