All about the NGO that lost 7 Gaza aid workers in IDF strike

World Central Kitchen (WCK), an NGO providing humanitarian aid in war-torn Gaza, lost seven of its members on Tuesday in an attack by the Israel Defense Forces (IDF), which Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu described as “unintentional”.

The attack has sparked widespread outrage – and condemnation from many world leaders – as it has suspended the work of the non-profit that serves as a vital lifeline for many people in the besieged region. used to work.

The seven killed in the attack were from Poland, Australia, the United Kingdom and Palestine, including one who was a US-Canadian dual citizen.

World Central Kitchen

World Central Kitchen is a non-profit organization that works towards providing fresh food to areas affected by climate, humanitarian and community crises.

According to WCK’s website, it was founded in 2010 by Spanish American chef José Andrés, who decided to use his culinary expertise to help those in need after the devastating earthquake in Haiti.

Over the past few years, the NGO has become one of the most sensitive aid organizations to work in areas affected by conflict and natural disasters, as reported by the Washington Post.

World Central Kitchen has been operating in Gaza as well as Israel and Lebanon since the outbreak of war in October last year. By March 29, the non-profit organization had sent more than 1,700 trucks with cooking equipment and food to Egypt through the Rafah crossing.

WCK was working through 68 community kitchens and distributed approximately 230,000 meals from Jordan through both airdrops and overland. In addition, NGOs had also sent 435,000 meals by sea, the BBC reported.

IDF attack on WCK Group

The NGO said the WCK team was traveling in a “conflict-free zone” in a convoy of three vehicles – two armored cars with NGO logos and a soft-skinned vehicle (non-armored) – when they collided. Israeli Defense Forces.

According to a statement released by the World Central Kitchen, the convoy was attacked despite coordinating its movements with the IDF.

The attack occurred as the WCK convoy was leaving the Deir al-Balah warehouse, where it had unloaded more than 100 tons of humanitarian food aid brought into Gaza via sea route.

WCK statement after the attack

WCK CEO Erin Gore said the strike is “not just an attack against WCK, but an attack on humanitarian organizations that are visible in dire situations where food is being used as a weapon of war”.

“This is inexcusable,” Gore said.

“I am saddened and shocked that we – World Central Kitchen and the world – lost beautiful lives today due to the IDF’s targeted attack,” he said.

World Central Kitchen: All about the NGO that lost 7 Gaza aid workers in IDF strike

Speaking about the seven members killed, he said, “The love they had for feeding people, the determination they showed to show that humanity came first, and the impact they made on countless lives.” , he will always be remembered and cherished.”

‘Unknowingly’

The IDF says it is “conducting a thorough investigation at the highest level to understand the circumstances of this tragic incident”, the WCK statement said.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu described the attack as “unintentional” and said Israeli authorities were “fully investigating the matter”.

He said Israel would “make every effort to prevent this from happening again,” The Washington Post reported.

Reasons behind WCK’s prominence

While the population of Gaza has been dependent on humanitarian aid for decades, the WCK emerged as a major aid provider in the light of the war as it helped launch a sea corridor from Cyprus to Gaza. It also has a large distribution network.

Its role became more prominent when some employees of UNRWA, the largest UN agency operating in Gaza, were accused by Israel of involvement in the October 7 attack that triggered the war. According to the BBC report, 15 countries, including the US, later stopped funding to UNRWA.

Since then, WCK “has been helping to fill the void”, citing the director of the program on Palestine and Palestinian-Israeli affairs at the Middle East Institute as saying in the BBC report published on Tuesday.

How will the IDF attack on WCK affect aid to Gaza?

Following the IDF strike, World Central Kitchen has halted all of its operations in the area with immediate effect.

At a time when the war-torn region has turned into the site of an unprecedented humanitarian crisis, with more than half its population on the brink, the strike is likely to have “a chilling effect on the willingness of aid workers to deploy to Gaza”. The Washington Post reported the famine, citing a senior official at the International Rescue Committee (IRC), another humanitarian aid organization.

Ciaran Donnelly, senior vice president of the IRC, was quoted as saying that the incident “sends a signal that nowhere in Gaza is safe for anyone”.

“Activities and facilities that should be protected under international humanitarian law are disproportionately targeted,” Donnelly said.

Previous attacks on WCK

WCK’s other major deployment has been to Ukraine, where the group has served more than 260 million meals since Russia’s invasion in February 2022, the BBC reports.

Six of its members were killed in two Russian missile attacks on community centers in 2022 and 2023. Another volunteer was killed when his apartment building was hit by a Russian missile, the BBC reports.

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