World Central Kitchen resumes operations in Gaza after seven aid workers killed

Humanitarian group paused operations for approximately four weeks after the fatal Israeli airstrike on a three-vehicle convoy

Ariana Baio
Sunday 28 April 2024 23:02 BST
World Central Kitchen delivers food aid in Kherson

World Central Kitchen, the humanitarian group that saw seven of its aid workers killed in an Israeli airstrike earlier this month, said they resumed operations in Gaza on Sunday.

Citing the dire humanitarian situation in Gaza, the group said they were restarting operations “with the same energy, dignity, and focus” to feed as many people as possible while also mourning the loss of their seven colleagues and friends.

“We have been forced to make a decision: stop feeding altogether during one of the worst hunger crises ever, ending our operation that accounted for 62% of all International NGO aid, or keep feeding knowing that aid, aid workers, and civilians are being intimidated and killed,” Erin Gore the CEO of WCK wrote.

She added: “These are the hardest conversations and we have considered all perspectives when deliberating. Ultimately, we decided that we must keep feeding, continuing our mission of showing up to provide food to people during the toughest of times.”

The announcement arrives less than a month after an Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) missile struck a three-car convoy the seven people were travelling in while coordinating aid shipment in central Gaza.

The seven people, Saifeddin Issam Ayab Abutaha, 25, of Palestine; Lalzawmi Frankcom, 43, of Australia; Damian Soból, 35, of Poland; Jacob Flickinger, 33, a US-Canadian dual citizen; UK citizens John Chapman, 57, James Henderson, 33, and James Kirby, 47, all died.

Following the tragedy, WCK paused operations.

Palestinians inspect a vehicle with the logo of the World Central Kitchen wrecked by an Israeli airstrike in Deir al Balah, Gaza Strip on April 2, 2024
Palestinians inspect a vehicle with the logo of the World Central Kitchen wrecked by an Israeli airstrike in Deir al Balah, Gaza Strip on April 2, 2024 (AP)

The IDF apologised for the incident, claiming it was a “mistake” but WCK is asking for “an impartial and international investigation”.

Now, weeks later, WCK is resuming its work to help get as much food into Gaza, including northern Gaza, as possible. More than half of the population in northern Gaza faces the threat of starvation with little to no access to food or clean water due to the war.

WCK said they have 276 trucks carrying the equivalent of almost eight million meals ready to go through the Rafah Crossing. They added that they’re sending trucks from Jordan and exploring a maritime corridor to deliver meals.

Israel’s offensive in Gaza, sparked by Hamas’ October 7 attack in which 1,200 people were killed and 250 were taken hostage, has caused widespread devastation with more than 33,000 people killed.

Among those deaths are journalists and other humanitarian workers.

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