Gaza is ‘world’s most dangerous place to deliver aid’, UK charities warn

Wednesday, Apr 03, 2024

LONDON: UK-based aid agencies have condemned an air strike which killed seven humanitarian workers in Gaza, describing the region as the “world’s most dangerous place to deliver aid”.

The aid workers – who were from the UK, Australia, Poland and Palestine and one of whom was a dual citizen of the US and Canada – were killed while travelling in a “deconflicted zone”, non-profit organisation World Central Kitchen (WCK) said in a statement.

UK-based charity Medical Aid for Palestinians condemned what it called a “horrific attack”. The deaths demonstrate there is “no safe place in Gaza, whether you are Palestinian, British or any other nationality”, a spokesperson said.

In January, the charity reported a near-fatal air strike by the Israeli military on a residential compound housing some of its staff. Senior Conservative MP Alicia Kearns told the PA news agency there was “still no explanation for the bombing of the Medical Aid for Palestine complex in a safe zone, which had also been deconflicted directly with the IDF in January, which four British doctors fortunately survived”.

“Humanitarian agencies must be given the assurances they need that their people will be protected,” she added. Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said aid groups working in the region must be able to complete their work “unhindered”.

The Medical Aid for Palestinians statement continued: “Gaza is one of the most dangerous places in the world to be an aid worker right now.“Every day our team in Gaza have to risk their lives to provide vital aid to those in need.”

The charity called for a “swift and independent investigation”, adding “those responsible must be held accountable”. UK-founded charity Islamic Relief said it was “outraged” by the tragedy, and called for an immediate ceasefire.

A spokesperson said: “Six months of Israeli bombing has turned Gaza into the world’s most dangerous place to deliver aid. “More than 200 aid workers, mostly Palestinians, have been killed – the deadliest ever crisis for humanitarian workers.

“Only an immediate ceasefire and an end to Israel’s siege can prevent famine and mass loss of life now.” Matthew Hollingworth, World Food Programme country director for Palestine, said he knew four of the aid workers killed.

“These are our friends, these are people we worked very closely with over the past weeks,” he told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme.“There is going to have to be a full, very high-level scale investigation by the IDF (Israel Defence Forces) into what happened, what went wrong.”