US aid chief announces new help on visit near Gaza border

US aid chief announces new help on visit near Gaza border
US aid chief Samantha Power announced a $21 million package that includes hygiene and shelter supplies for Gazans.
2 min read
06 December, 2023
USAID chief Samantha Power was in Egypt when she announced the package for Gaza [Getty]

The US aid chief on Tuesday announced new support for the war-battered Gaza Strip on a visit to Egypt, as a renewed Israeli offensive again puts Palestinians at risk.

Samantha Power, the administrator of the US Agency for International Development, travelled to the Egyptian town of El-Arish, the gateway to Rafah, the border crossing that has been reopened but at limited capacity since the war started.

Power announced $21 million in new US assistance that will include hygiene and shelter supplies and food for people in Gaza, where water and other basics have been in short supply.

USAID said the assistance was in addition to $100 million announced by President Joe Biden on October 18.

Power accompanied the delivery by the US military of another 16.3 metric tonnes (36,000 pounds) of previously announced assistance that includes medical supplies, winter clothing and emergency food.

"During the pause in hostilities last week, we saw important and overdue progress toward addressing the grave humanitarian crisis in Gaza," Power told reporters.

"The United States is now doing everything in our power to advance that progress," she said.

"As Israel's military operations continue, Palestinian civilians must be protected. Far too many innocent civilians have been killed."

Power said she spoke with the Egyptian Red Crescent and United Nations officials on ways to speed up the pace of aid getting into Gaza.

"The levels of aid reached during the pause need to be the bare minimum of what goes in going forward," she said.

The State Department said Monday that Israel, after US appeals, let badly needed fuel into the Gaza Strip.

But the United States has also faced strong criticism in the Arab world for its military and diplomatic support of Israel, which  has carried out air strikes and a ground offensive in Gazathat have killed more than 16,200 people, mostly women and children.

Israel resumed its military campaign on Friday after a deal to free hostages came to an end.