Sunday, April 21, 2024

Airdrop Aid Package Falls on People, 5 Killed After Parachute Failed to Deploy in Gaza

HomeWARAirdrop Aid Package Falls on People, 5 Killed After Parachute Failed to...

A humanitarian aid airdrop intended to help feed desperate families in the besieged Gaza Strip turned to tragedy on Friday when several large packages fell directly onto crowds gathered below, killing at least 5 people and injuring 10 others, some critically.

The fatal incident occurred in the densely populated Al Shati refugee camp west of Gaza City as planes passed overhead releasing the pallets of food aid. Eyewitness Khader Al Zaanoun, a local journalist, told CNN he saw the packages strike people on the ground but could not identify which nation’s aircraft had carried out the airdrop.

“It was terrifying. One moment the packages were dropping from the sky, and the next moment people were screaming in panic as some were struck by the heavy pallets,” Al Zaanoun described the chaotic scene. “The crowds had merely gathered to receive the aid, but several were crushed by the falling boxes.”

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Officials at Gaza City’s Al Shifa Medical Complex confirmed receiving 5 bodies and 10 injured people following the accident, with some of the wounded listed in serious condition. The Head of Emergency Care, Muhammad Al-Sheikh, called the incident “profoundly tragic” and said it remained under investigation.

The ill-fated aid delivery was part of an international effort to rush food and supplies into Gaza amid warnings by the United Nations that hundreds of thousands of Palestinians in the territory are on the brink of famine after years of conflict and blockades. The US had conducted its first airdrop last Saturday in coordination with Jordan, delivering 38,000 meals to the coastal enclave.

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However, aid groups had criticized the airdrops as risky and ineffective given the massive scale of need, with panicked crowds often mobbing the drop sites. Richard Gowan of the International Crisis Group said “Humanitarian workers always complain that airdrops are good photo opportunities but a lousy way to deliver aid.”

Friday’s deadly mishap seemed to underline those concerns over air drops’ poor accuracy and potential for causing disorder and injuries when heavy packages are dropped over densely populated areas. While meant to help, the tragic incident will likely raise fresh doubts about the prudence and safety of attempting mass airdrops over Gaza.

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Local officials and international bodies were still investigating whose planes had conducted Friday’s fateful airdrop as anguished families prepared to bury the five victims killed by the very aid meant to sustain them. The heartbreaking scene encapsulated the dire humanitarian crisis, but also the risks of rash efforts that prioritize fast food deliveries over safe distribution to those most in need.

Mezhar Alee
Mezhar Alee
Mezhar Alee is a prolific author who provides commentary and analysis on business, finance, politics, sports, and current events on his website Opportuneist. With over a decade of experience in journalism and blogging, Mezhar aims to deliver well-researched insights and thought-provoking perspectives on important local and global issues in society.

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