The Netherlands sends navy ship to help Gaza relief effort


The Netherlands is sending the navy ship HMS Holland to the eastern Mediterranean in readiness for the humanitarian relief effort in Gaza.

The Netherlands and its allies are “preparing options from the sea and from the air in addition to the route over land,” defence minister Kajsa Ollongren told MPs in a briefing.

The naval vessel can provide support in case of an evacuation from the region. It can also contribute to the formation of a maritime corridor to send humanitarian aid to Gaza, the minister said.

The vessel is expected to leave the Netherlands in the middle of this month and arrive in the region by the end of November.

The situation in Gaza is so serious that residents need immediate humanitarian assistance and expanding and accelerating access to the area by land is therefore a priority, the minister said. But options by sea and air are also being considered and plans are being worked on for this as well.

The Netherlands is already present in Cyprus with 2 C-130 transport aircraft and a marine unit. One of these aircraft will return to the Netherlands to be made ready for rapid deployment. The other C-130 and the marines will remain on standby in Cyprus, according to the current schedule, until the end of this year.

According to the Telegraaf, the Holland has limited cargo capacity but bigger navy ships are not currently available. The transport ship HMS Rotterdam is currently undergoing repairs while the HMS Karel Doorman has technical problems and also needs maintenance.

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