The first U.S. government flight with humanitarian aid for Gaza landed in Egypt’s northern Sinai on Tuesday, according to a spokesperson for the U.S. Agency for International Development.
The plane’s cargo will be transferred to the United Nations, which will deliver the materials to Gaza, senior Biden administration officials said. They added that it’s the first of three planned U.S. flights.
“This will be to bring a series of items, medical items, food aid, winter items, given that winter is coming in Gaza,” a senior administration official said on a call with reporters.
Asked how the delivery will differ from the truckloads of aid that have already entered Gaza, an official said that “some of these things have already gone in, but there’ll be additional items.”
More than 2,000 truckloads of aid have been delivered to Gaza since the start of the Israel-Hamas war, according to the administration, including about 800 during the first four days of the humanitarian pause. Upon the end of the pause in fighting for hostage releases, a separate senior administration official said, “this level or increased levels” of aid to Gaza must be sustained.
The number of aid truckloads reaching Gaza now is far fewer than the usual number that reached the strip before the war. Before Oct. 7, an average of 10,000 truckloads of “commercial and humanitarian commodities (excluding fuel)” entered Gaza every month, according to the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.
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“Just want to acknowledge from the president on down, we understand that what is getting in is nowhere near enough for normal life in Gaza, and we will continue to push for additional steps, including the restoration of the flow of commercial goods and additional basic services,” a senior administration official said on the call with reporters.
The two subsequent U.S. flights are expected in the coming days.
President Joe Biden said Monday that the pause in fighting has “enabled a significant surge in additional humanitarian assistance.”
“The United States has led the humanitarian response into Gaza — building on years of work as the largest funder of humanitarian assistance for the Palestinian people,” Biden said in a statement. “We are taking full advantage of the pause in fighting to increase the amount of humanitarian aid moving into Gaza, and we will continue our efforts to build a future of peace and dignity for the Palestinian people.”
In October, the White House announced that the U.S. would provide $100 million in humanitarian assistance for Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank.
Ghael Fobes is an Associate White House Producer with the NBC News White House Unit in Washington, D.C.
Megan Lebowitz is a politics reporter for NBC News.