US’ $320m pier in Gaza breaks apart days after supplies began arriving in war-torn region

The temporary pier built off the coast of Gaza by the US military to transport aid into the war-torn region has broken apart.

Heavy seas damaged the pier on Tuesday and sections need “rebuilding and repairing,” a Pentagon spokesperson said.

The pier will be moved to Ashdod, a port in Israel, where repairs will be carried out over the course of more than a week.

The damage was first reported by NBC News.

us’ $320m pier in gaza breaks apart days after supplies began arriving in war-torn region

The temporary pier in Gaza built by the US military has broken apart (Satellite image ©2024 Maxar Technologies)

us’ $320m pier in gaza breaks apart days after supplies began arriving in war-torn region

The image provided by U.S. Central Command shows the Trident Pier on the coast of Gaza Strip on May 16, 2024, before it was damaged (AP)

The pier consists of a narrow causeway to carry aid to Gaza and a broader area to place supplies transported by ship. Officials said it disconnected on Sunday, according to CNN.

The broader parking area must be connected to the causeway before the pier can be used.

The pier cost $320m and its usage started on 17 May, but heavy seas forced a stoppage just a week later. The pier broke apart two days later.

State Department spokesperson Matthew Miller said on Tuesday that a “great deal of humanitarian assistance” has been “flowing” into Gaza.

us’ $320m pier in gaza breaks apart days after supplies began arriving in war-torn region

This image provided by the U.S. Army shows trucks loaded with humanitarian aid from the United Arab Emirates and the United States Agency for International Development cross the Trident Pier before arriving on the beach on the Gaza Strip, May 17, 2024 (AP)

“There has been ... a great deal that has been delivered into the north of Gaza over the past few weeks, something that happened because of the United States’ intervention,” he added.

However, he said getting aid into southern Gaza has been “a real challenge”.

“There are a number of things that have made that a challenge, one being the closing of Rafah gate, two being, obviously, the military ... operations that are taking place there that make it tough,” he said.

The temporary pier is located just north of Rafah in southern Gaza.

The pier was damaged three days after heavy seas led to two US Army vessels having to beach in Israel, US Central Command said. Another two vessels anchored close to the pier broke free of their moorings.

The temporary pier is known as the Joint Logistics Over the Shore (JLOTS), and can only operate in good conditions – meaning that in can safely be used in at most waves up to three feet and in winds under 15 miles per hour, CNN noted.

Heavy seas meant the pier was delayed for weeks while it awaited better conditions sitting in Ashdod. The US has said that the pier was only intended as an add-on to aid going through traditional land crossings.

The pier was first announced by President Joe Biden during his State of the Union address in March.

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