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Cost of Gaza pier increases to $320m, US official says

The construction of Biden's temporary pier intended to handle aid deliveries into Gaza is double that of its initial estimates
The construction of the temporary pier seen in Gaza by satellite (Reuters)

The construction of a pier by the US military to handle aid deliveries to Gaza is projected to cost $32om - double the initial estimates earlier this year, a US defence official told Reuters on Monday.

US President Joe Biden announced the construction of the pier in March to boost aid deliveries to Gaza by sea in a bid to avert famine in northern Gaza.

Humanitarian supplies continue to be impeded on land routes by Israeli restrictions at crossings.

"The cost has not just risen. It has exploded," Senator Roger Wicker, the top Republican on the Democratic-led Senate Armed Services Committee, told Reuters.

"This dangerous effort with marginal benefit will now cost the American taxpayers at least $320m to operate the pier for only 90 days."

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According to the Pentagon, over 1000 US troops are expected to be involved in the construction of the floating harbour, although the Pentagon has said that workers will not set foot on land, as the causeway will be assembled at sea.

The US says that once the pier is operational, it will handle up to 150 trucks daily. Ships will deliver aid from Cyprus to the pier where it will be loaded onto trucks to be distributed across Gaza.

According to the BBC, British troops could be deployed instead in Gaza to distribute the aid on land.

However, a senior Biden administration official told Reuters last week that aid deliveries from the pier will have to pass through Israeli checkpoints on land.

This is despite the aid already having been inspected by Israel before departure in Cyprus.

According to the UN, the daily average of trucks entering Gaza in April was 300, with 310 entering the besieged enclave on Monday, the highest number since 7 October when the war broke out.

However, UN aid agencies say 500-600 trucks of aid deliveries daily are required to avert famine.

Palestinian officials in Gaza say up to 1,000 humanitarian aid and commercial trucks are needed to enter the strip daily to alleviate the humanitarian crises caused by 200 days of sustained Israeli siege and strikes. 

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