Biden announces U.S. will airdrop food aid into Gaza as famine concerns grow

WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden announced Friday that the U.S. will drop food aid into the Gaza Strip, noting that the humanitarian aid flowing into the region for Palestinians is insufficient.

“Aid flowing into Gaza is nowhere nearly enough… lives are on the line,” Biden said as he announced the decision about the airdrops during an Oval Office meeting he was holding with Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni.

“We should be getting hundreds of trucks in, not just several,” he continued. “We’re going to pull out every stop we can.”

The president reiterated that the U.S. is trying to push for an immediate cease-fire between Hamas and Israel to allow more aid into Gaza, where he said “innocent people” have died.

Displaced Palestinian children gather to receive food at a government school in Rafah, Gaza  (Mohammed Abed / AFP - Getty Images)

Displaced Palestinian children gather to receive food at a government school in Rafah, Gaza (Mohammed Abed / AFP – Getty Images)

The White House is growing increasingly concerned about possible famine for a sizeable portion of Gaza’s population.

Samantha Power, the administrator of the United States Agency for International Development, announced this week that the U.S. was sending $53 million in additional humanitarian assistance into Gaza.

“She’s working on expanding the channels, the corridors through which that aid can flow. We’re going to keep at this,” White House principal deputy press secretary Olivia Dalton said Thursday. “The events of this morning just underscored how deep and dire the humanitarian needs amongst civilian population in Gaza are right now.”

The Hamas-run Gaza Ministry of Health said in a statement on Telegram Friday that 115 people had died and 760 were wounded as a crowd of people waited for humanitarian aid trucks in Gaza on Thursday. Palestinian officials claimed that Israeli soldiers opened fire on civilians.

NBC News has not independently verified the reported death toll. The Israeli military said it was reviewing the incident. An Israeli government source said that IDF troops responded with “live fire” after people surrounded trucks carrying humanitarian aid.

The Israel Defense Forces said in a post on X Thursday, “This morning humanitarian aid trucks entered northern Gaza, residents surrounded the trucks and looted the supplies being delivered. As a result of the pushing, trampling and being run over by the trucks, dozens of Gazans were killed and injured.”

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