Australian World Central Kitchen (WCK) aid worker Lalzawmi "Zomi" Frankcom was killed in an Israeli airstrike. Image Credit: Reuters

SYDNEY: An Australian volunteer who brought food to disaster-ravaged regions across the globe was among several aid workers killed in a strike on Gaza, friends and Australian officials said Tuesday.

Lalzawmi “Zomi” Frankcom was killed while working in the Gaza Strip for aid group World Central Kitchen, which feeds communities affected by conflict and disaster.

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“She just wanted to help out through this charity. That says everything about the character of this young woman,” Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese said, offering his “sincere condolences” to her family.

World Central Kitchen said Tuesday seven of its aid workers had been killed in an Israeli strike in the Gaza Strip.

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It added that those killed were “from Australia, Poland, United Kingdom, a dual citizen of the US and Canada and Palestine.”

Gaza’s Hamas-run health ministry said the strike had targeted a vehicle, with the bodies of at least five victims brought to a hospital in the town of Deir Al Balah.

Just one week earlier, a beaming Frankcom had been filmed inside the besieged territory as World Central Kitchen cooks whipped up beef and vegetable stews.

“This is the beautiful, fragrant aromatic rice that will be served today from Deir Al Balah kitchen,” a smiling Frankcom says in a video posted on March 26, as aid workers tend to steaming vats of food in the background.

Albanese said Frankcom had also volunteered in the aftermath of Australia’s catastrophic 2019-2020 “Black Summer” bushfires.

Television clips and posts on social media painted a picture of Frankcom as an intrepid aid worker who did not shy away from the frontlines of disaster.

“The situation is bad. Hangars have been ripped open like sardine cans,” she said in a video posted from the Bahamas in the wake of Hurricane Dorian in 2019.

“We are cooking for the people, and plan on ramping that up.”


In September last year, Frankcom travelled to Morocco to help World Central Kitchen relief efforts in the wake of a devastating earthquake.

“We are getting out to those remote villages as fast as we possibly can, to serve the communities with fresh meals and water,” she told US network MSNBC.

Friend and fellow aid worker Dora Weekley said Frankcom was “relentless” and “huge-hearted”.

“It is kind of unthinkable to comprehend that people doing good work and helping others would be killed,” she told national broadcaster ABC.

World Central Kitchen is one of two NGOs spearheading efforts to deliver aid to Gaza by boat from Cyprus.

Australia will be seeking an explanation from Israeli officials, Albanese said.

“We want full accountability for this, because this is a tragedy that should never have occurred.”

The Israeli military has said it was “conducting a thorough review at the highest levels to understand the circumstances of this tragic incident”.