US announces $53 mln in humanitarian aid to Gaza

The United States on Tuesday announced another $53 million in humanitarian assistance for Palestinians as the US aid chief pleaded for protections to relief workers in war-ravaged Gaza.

The US Agency for International Development (USAID) said the aid would go through the World Food Program and non-governmental groups, as Israel and Western powers criticize the UN refugee agency in besieged Gaza.

Announcing the aid in a video from Jordan, USAID Administrator Samantha Power said the new assistance “has to reach people in need.”

“The aid workers who on the ground in Gaza are risking their lives to get food to people in desperate, desperate need — those aid workers have to be protected,” she said.

“They have to know they can do their jobs without being shot at and killed,” she said, without naming either Israel or Hamas, which controls Gaza.

The assistance brings total US emergency assistance to the Palestinians to $180 million since the massive October 7 attack by Hamas on Israel, which has responded with a relentless military campaign in Gaza.

The United States has previously flown aid by military plane to Egypt to cross into Gaza.

But the United States and other Western nations have suspended funding to UNRWA, the UN agency for Palestinian refugees, in response to Israeli allegations that some of its staff participated in the October 7 attack.

The UN fired the employees accused by Israel and has begun an internal probe of UNRWA.

With UNRWA blocked from aid deliveries, the United Nations has warned of looming famine threatening virtually everyone in Gaza.

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