Home WORLD NEWS World Central Kitchen: All About NGO That Lost 7 Gaza Aid Workers In IDF Strike

World Central Kitchen: All About NGO That Lost 7 Gaza Aid Workers In IDF Strike

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World Central Kitchen: All About NGO That Lost 7 Gaza Aid Workers In IDF Strike

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

The attack has sparked massive outrage – and drawn censure from multiple world leaders – as it has led to the suspension of the non-profit’s work, which served as a vital lifeline for many in the besieged enclave. 

The seven members killed in the attack belonged to Poland, Australia, the United Kingdom, and Palestine, with one being a US-Canada dual citizen. 

World Central Kitchen

World Central Kitchen is a non-profit that works towards providing fresh meals in areas hit by climate, humanitarian, and community crises. 

It was founded in 2010, by Spanish American chef Jose Andres, who decided to use his culinary expertise to help the needy after a devastating earthquake in Haiti,  according to the WCK’s website.

Over the years, the NGO has grown into one of the most responsive aid organisations to work in areas hit by conflict and natural disasters, as noted in a Washington Post report.

World Central Kitchen has been operating in Gaza as well as Israel and Lebanon ever since the war broke out in October last year. By March 29, the non-profit organisation had dispatched over 1,700 trucks with cooking equipment and food from Egypt through the Rafah crossing. 

WCK was working through 68 community kitchens and had delivered around 2,30,000 meals from Jordan, both via airdrops and overland. In addition to this, the NGO had also sent 435,000 meals by sea, reported BBC.

IDF Strike On The WCK Group

The WCK team, the NGO has said, was travelling in a “deconflicted zone” in a three-vehicle convoy – two armoured cars branded with the NGO’s logo and a soft-skinned vehicle (non-armoured) – when they were struck by the Israeli defence forces.

World Central Kitchen: All About NGO That Lost 7 Gaza Aid Workers In IDF Strike

According to a statement issued by the World Central Kitchen, the convoy was struck despite having coordinated its movements with the IDF. 

The strike took place while the WCK convoy was leaving the Deir al-Balah warehouse, where it had unloaded more than 100 tonnes of humanitarian food aid brought to Gaza through the maritime route.

WCK’s Statement After The Attack

WCK CEO Erin Gore said the strike “is not only an attack against WCK, but an attack on humanitarian organisations showing up in the direst of situations where food is being used as a weapon of war”. 

“This is unforgivable,” Gore added.

“I am heartbroken and appalled that we — World Central Kitchen and the world — lost beautiful lives today because of a targeted attack by the IDF,” she said.

World Central Kitchen: All About NGO That Lost 7 Gaza Aid Workers In IDF Strike

Talking about the seven members killed, she added, “The love they had for feeding people, the determination they embodied to show that humanity rises above all, and the impact they made in countless lives will forever be remembered and cherished.”

‘Unintentional’

The IDF says it is “carrying out an in-depth examination at the highest levels to understand the circumstances of this tragic incident”, the WCK statement read.

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

He added that Israel would “do everything possible to prevent this from happening again”, the Washington Post reported.

Reasons Behind WCK’s Prominence

While Gaza’s population has relied on humanitarian assistance for decades now, the WCK emerged as a prominent aid provider in the light of the war as it helped launch a maritime corridor from Cyprus to Gaza. It also has a large distribution network.

Its role became more prominent as some employees of the biggest UN agency operating in Gaza, the UNRWA, were accused by Israel of being involved in the October 7 attack that triggered the war. Funding to the UNRWA was subsequently stopped by 15 countries, including the US, BBC reported.

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

How Will The IDF Strike On WCK Impact Gaza’s Aid?

Following the IDF strike, the World Central Kitchen has paused all its operations in the region with immediate effect. 

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

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

“Activities and facilities that should be protected under international humanitarian law are very much in the firing line,” Donnelly added.

Previous Attacks On WCK

Among the WCK’s other prominent deployments has been to Ukraine, where the group has served more than 260 million meals since Russia invaded in February 2022, according to the BBC report. 

In 2022 and 2023, six of its members were killed in two Russian missile strikes on community centres. Another volunteer was killed when his apartment building was hit by a Russian missile, BBC reported. 

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