With a trickle of aid flowing into the besieged Gaza Strip from Egypt, humanitarian staff and diplomats face a web of political, security and logistical obstacles as they try to build up and sustain deliveries of relief.

The aid is desperately needed. Supplies of food, water, medicines and fuel have been running critically low for Gaza's 2.3 million people since Israel began its bombardment and "total siege" of the Palestinian enclave in retaliation for a lethal incursion by Hamas militants on Oct. 7.

But Israel's conditions for inspecting and tracking the aid, security risks transporting and distributing it, and arrangement of its passage through a crossing not used during previous conflicts for large-scale relief efforts have all hampered work to get the operation off the ground.