Rafah - There was a rush to get vital supplies into Gaza this week while the ceasefire there held.
Trucks carrying humanitarian and relief aid were lined up along most of the road between el-Arish Airport in North Sinai and the Rafah crossing point on the border between the Gaza Strip and Egypt.
They were carrying a range of essentials, including food, blankets and simple stoves for cooking. Their drivers were desperate to get their cargo moving, to meet the acute need for help throughout almost 50 days of relentless Israeli aerial bombardment.
But for the Gaza-bound convoy’s drivers, the wait felt endless.
"We are just waiting for the signal to move," Mohamed Adli, one of them told Al Majalla, as smoke from his cigarette lingered over his head.
Egypt tried to use the truce between Israel and Hamas to get as much aid as possible into the Strip. While the pause in fighting held, the number of trucks getting into Gaza rose above 200 a day, ten times more than before the guns fell silent om 24 November.
Read more: The politics of calculation in Gaza war
It also became possible to get fuel into the Strip, to help power the generators that are keeping the hospitals running and for general electricity supplies. They were the first significant deliveries of this kind since the 7 October attacks.
Getting the aid in
But even after the increase in deliveries, the aid getting in via the Rafah, the only land route into the Strip, is just a fraction of what is needed and about a third of the traffic before 7 October.
Since then, much of Gaza’s 2.3mn population has moved to the brink of hunger.
The United Nations and international aid and humanitarian organisations are warning that the military death toll of nearly 14,000 Palestinians, according to the Hamas-run Health Ministry, could be surpassed by the number fatalities from disease and a lack of clean drinking water.
In Rafah, the Egyptian town closest to the Gaza Strip, people are aware of this risk and are scrambling to help as much as possible.
"We are doing whatever we can to coordinate the delivery of aid and give the people of Gaza all their needs," Khaled Zayed, the North Sinai director of the Egyptian Red Crescent Society, told Al Majalla. His organisation is the main manager of the flow of aid.
It coordinates the arrival of aid into Sinai, including at el-Arish Airport, and then gets it into warehouses before it is loaded onto trucks.
North Sinai authorities have turned parts of their far-flung Egyptian territory into a fast-moving international hub to handle the logistics of the reception, distribution and delivery of aid to Gaza.
El-Arish Airport, around 30 kilometres away from Rafah, is both a modest facility, and one which has been transformed to handle increased traffic.
It is little more than a runway and a few scattered administrative offices. Nonetheless, the Egyptian authorities are getting the most out of its capacity, to cope with the number of flights coming in.
Laden planes have been landing at intervals of only a few minutes. So far, around 240 have arrived from 54 countries since the beginning of the war, according to North Sinai Governor, Abdel-Fadil Shousha.
And he was able to put specific numbers on what happened after that, when speaking to reporters, just metres away from the Rafah crossing point, on 27 November.