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Just hours before sunset in mid-March, workers at World Central Kitchen set about completing the final touches on a makeshift jetty constructed from rubble as the ship carrying the first aid shipment to the Gaza Strip by sea in nearly two decades should reach, the coast drove backwards.

The non-profit disaster relief crew still had to cover the jetty’s sharp edges and puncture rebar, a reminder that the rubble used to build the structure in northern Gaza came from bombed buildings. Using square pieces of rubble, they built a vertical concrete wall to hit the ship.

“Conducting any type of construction project in Gaza at this time presents incredible challenges,” said Sam Bloch, head of emergency response at World Central Kitchen, founded by renowned Spanish chef José Andrés. Mr. Bloch, who oversaw the construction of the pier and the arrival of the shipment, described the scene by telephone from Oakland, California, after leaving Gaza.

The arrival of the ship, which sailed from Cyprus after inspecting aid supplies there, marked a milestone in an effort that Western officials hope will help ease food shortages in the enclave. The operation was described as a pilot project to wider open a maritime corridor to supply the territory.

Once the food was unloaded, it was distributed by truck across Gaza – including in the north, where experts say famine is imminent. International aid organizations have largely suspended operations in the region, citing Israeli restrictions, security problems and poor road conditions.

At least two attempts to deliver food aid to desperate Palestinians in northern Gaza have ended in bloodshed in recent weeks, with Palestinian and Israeli officials blaming each other for the deadly scenes.

The Israeli military supported World Central Kitchen’s operations and provided security and coordination, according to an Israeli official who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss a sensitive matter. Every step was carried out with the approval of the Israeli military, Mr. Bloch said.

“It was a lot of stop-and-go,” he said, and the progress “definitely wasn’t consistent or predictable.”

Construction of the World Central Kitchen jetty took six days, with the site sometimes operating around the clock as the jetty slowly stretched out into the sea, one truck full of rubble at a time. “Using rubble was a big challenge,” Mr. Bloch said, “but it is the only resource that is currently abundant in Gaza.”

Most of the rubble was brought from the southern Gaza Strip, but also from the area around the construction site. The main contractor, who lost two of his homes to bombings about a mile from the pier, went out with his dump trucks and heavy machinery to collect the remains of his destroyed homes, Mr. Bloch said.

Most of the construction equipment, including front-end loaders, dump trucks, low-loaders, cranes and a tanker truck, came from the southern Gaza Strip, Mr. Bloch said. But one piece of equipment, a movable light pole that allowed construction to continue through the night, had to be recovered from a bombed-out northern warehouse.

In coordination with the Israeli military, a small convoy accompanied by heavy equipment was sent to clear the roads to a warehouse in Gaza City where local contractors had identified what they believed was the only lighthouse in Gaza, Mr. Bloch said.

To unload the ship, which contained nearly half a million meals, a large crane at the end of the dock transported pallets of food onto eighteen-wheel trucks that were carefully backed across the dock.

By the time the load was unloaded it was almost midnight. World Central Kitchen decided to send the trucks to a warehouse in Deir al Balah, a few miles south of the pier, and distribute the supplies during daylight hours.

A few days later, the trucks drove up Salah al-Din Street, the main artery through the central Gaza Strip, to the southern edge of Gaza City, where hungry families collected food directly from the trucks. According to Mr. Bloch, no one was injured during the distribution.

In the future, World Central Kitchen hopes to speed up the process by sending food directly from the dock to communities in northern Gaza, Mr. Bloch said. The organization is also working to develop community kitchens that will serve as distribution points.

Building community kitchens is World Central Kitchen’s bread and butter. The group already has 68 in the southern Gaza Strip, providing most of the hot meals to civilians there, Mr. Bloch said.

World Central Kitchen loaded a larger ship in Cyprus, which was waiting for the right weather conditions on Monday before heading to Gaza.

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