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World Central Kitchen resuming Gaza operations

WCK Palestinian team restarting feeding, opening its third high-production kitchen

by World Central Kitchen | Special to Presbyterian News Service

Photo by Wonderlane via Unsplash

WASHINGTON — World Central Kitchen, which last week honored seven colleagues killed during an April 1 Israeli airstrike in Gaza, will resume operations in Gaza Monday with a Palestinian team delivering food to address widespread hunger, including in the north.

WCK’s aid to Gaza was suspended for four weeks following the death of WCK workers killed by an Israeli military strike on April 1. Prior to halting its operations, WCK distributed more than 43 million meals in Gaza and accounted for 62% of all international non-governmental organizations aid.

“The humanitarian situation in Gaza remains dire,” said Erin Gore, chief executive officer of World Central Kitchen. “We are restarting our operation with the same energy, dignity, and focus on feeding as many people as possible. To date we have distributed more than 43 million meals, and we are eager to deliver millions more.

Erin Gore (Photo courtesy of World Central Kitchen)

“Food is a universal right, and our work in Palestine has been the most life-saving mission in our 14-year organizational history. We will continue to get as much food into Gaza, including northern Gaza, as possible — by land, air, or sea.”

World Central Kitchen has 276 trucks with the equivalent of almost eight million meals ready to enter through the Rafah Crossing and will also send trucks into Gaza from Jordan. WCK also continues to explore the maritime corridor that delivered food and humanitarian goods via boat with the support of Open Arms, a Spanish humanitarian organization, and the United Arab Emirates. WCK is also examining if the Ashdod Port can be utilized to offload relief supplies destined for Gaza.

Additionally, World Central Kitchen is opening a third high-production kitchen known as “Damian’s Kitchen” after the skilled kitchen builder Damian Soból, who was lost in the April 1 attack. Damian’s Kitchen is in Mawasi and adds to WCK’s 68 other community kitchens in Gaza, including two other high production kitchens in Rafah and Deir al Balah.

WCK continues to call for an impartial and international investigation into the IDF attack that took the lives of their colleagues. While the IDF has taken responsibility for the attack and publicly stated they changed their rules of operations, WCK is seeking answers and advocating for change to better protect all NGO workers bravely serving in Gaza.

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

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