Food distribution in Gaza even more compromised after deadly airstrike on aid convoy

Food distribution in Gaza even more compromised after deadly airstrike on aid convoy
Food distribution in Gaza even more compromised after deadly airstrike on aid convoy
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The World Central Kitchen (WCK) team wore bulletproof vests and traveled in two armored cars with the organization’s logo. WCK said it had had prior contact with the Israeli army. Still, “the convoy was hit as it left the warehouse in Deir al-Balah, where the team had unloaded more than 100 tons of humanitarian food aid brought by sea to Gaza,” the NGO said in a press release. CEO Erin Gore calls the attack “inexcusable.”

The victims wore bulletproof vests with a logo of the organization. — © ap

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu laments that an “accidental” Israeli attack killed “innocent people.” “Something like that sometimes happens in wartime. We will do everything we can to ensure this does not happen again.” The Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) vows that it will “get to the bottom of this tragic incident.” There will be a thorough and independent investigation to clarify the circumstances. “The IDF is making extensive efforts to facilitate the safe delivery of humanitarian aid. It has worked closely with WCK in its vital efforts to deliver food and humanitarian aid to the people of Gaza.”

Food distribution disrupted

WCK was founded in 2010 by Spanish star chef José Andrés, after a major earthquake in Haiti. It prepares fresh ‘comfort food’ during humanitarian crises. WCK has served more than 350 million meals worldwide. In Gaza, this involved more than 42 million meals in 175 days. The NGO works with local organizations to activate a network of local restaurants, food trucks or emergency kitchens. To support the regional economy, WCK prefers to purchase local ingredients. “Good food is not just food, but also offers comfort and hope, especially in times of crisis.”

The NGO suspends its activities in Gaza, making it the second American NGO to leave the region. American Near East Refugee Ai (Anera) previously did this. That organization distributed food and worked closely with WCK. “Together, Anera and WCK delivered two million meals a week,” CEO Sean Caroll wrote on X. “Our broken hearts are with our friends at World Central Kitchen today and every day.” Caroll said that “the occupier has an obligation under international law to care for the population in occupied territory.”

UNRWA, the UN agency for the relief of Palestinian refugees, has expressed concern about the disruption of food supplies to the northern part of Gaza. “Children are dying of hunger,” spokesperson Juliette Touma told BBC News. “All organizations that provide assistance to people in Gaza are of great importance. Any disruption will have serious consequences for a population that is already suffering a lot.” According to British media, ships with around 240 tons of relief supplies on board would return to the port of Larnaca in Cyprus without any action.

“Fantastic boy”

The Palestinian Red Crescent said the seven bodies had been recovered after a “challenging operation lasting several hours.” Two of the bodies were initially missing. All seven were taken to Al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Hospital in Deir al-Balah and then to a medical aid station in Rafah. They are later taken to Egypt.

Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese has confirmed the death of 43-year-old Melbourne aid worker Lalzawmi “Zomi” Frankcom. “This is a human tragedy that is completely unacceptable and should never have happened,” he said at a news conference. “Australia demands full and appropriate accountability.” According to her family, she was a “kind, selfless woman who traveled the world to assist fellow human beings in need.”

© epa

The mayor of the Polish city of Przemyśl calls Polish aid worker Damian Soból “a fantastic boy”. Soból was already working at WCK in Ukraine in 2022. “This is a tragedy that should never have happened,” Polish President Andrzej Duda posted on X. The Palestinian victim’s name is Saif Issam Abu-Taha, he was a driver and translator for WCK.

Three other victims are British, the BBC reports. “We have been urging Israel for some time to better protect civilians and get aid to Gaza more quickly,” British Education Minister Gillian Keegan said on Tuesday morning. Foreign Minister David Cameron demanded a “full and transparent explanation” from Israel. The other two victims are said to have American and shared American-Canadian nationality.

“Indiscriminate killings”

“Humanitarian workers must be protected as they deliver desperately needed aid, and we urge Israel to quickly investigate what happened,” National Security Council spokesperson Adrienne Watson wrote on social media . One victim is said to have shared American-Canadian nationality. Other global leaders and organizations express their condolences and call for better protection of aid workers.

WCK founder José Andres has also responded to the deaths of his employees. “The Israeli government must stop its indiscriminate killings,” the Spanish-American restaurateur said on social media. “She must stop restricting humanitarian aid, stop killing civilians and aid workers, and stop using food as a weapon. No more innocent lives lost. Peace begins with our shared humanity.”

© Reuters

The article is in Dutch

Tags: Food distribution Gaza compromised deadly airstrike aid convoy

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