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Zomi Frankcom: Family pay tribute to ‘selfless’ Aussie aid worker who died helping others in Gaza air strike

Sarah Blake and Remy Varga
The Nightly
5 Min Read
Zomi Frankcom sent this photo to her family on Monday,  just before she crossed the checkpoint in Gaza.
Zomi Frankcom sent this photo to her family on Monday, just before she crossed the checkpoint in Gaza. Credit: Supplied

The family of an Australian aid worker killed while attempting to deliver food to starving Gazans has remembered her as a kind, selfless and outstanding human being as an irate Prime Minister Anthony Albanese demanded “full accountability” from Israel.

As they shared a photo Zomi Frankcom had sent them just hours before her death, the family of the former Sydney and Melbourne woman, killed by an apparent Israeli air strike on Tuesday, said she would leave a legacy of compassion, bravery and love.

“We are deeply mourning the news that our brave and beloved Zomi has been killed doing the work she loves delivering food to the people of Gaza,” said Ms Frankcom’s family.

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“She was a kind, selfless and outstanding human being that has traveled the world helping others in their time of need.

“She will leave behind a legacy of compassion, bravery and love for all those in her orbit. “We are still reeling from the shock and we humbly request privacy during this difficult time”.

Zomi Frankcom was killed in an airstrike in Gaza.
Zomi Frankcom was killed in an airstrike in Gaza. Credit: Facebook

Frankcom, 43, was one of four aid workers killed along with their Palestinian driver by an apparant Israeli strike on Northern Gaza on Tuesday morning, Australian time.

The Australian had last month proudly shared her work in helping to supply hundreds of thousands of meals to starving Gazans through the World Central Kitchen charity.

Mr Albanese demanded “full accountability” for the killings, describing them as “completely unacceptable”.

He said he had contacted the Israeli government and called for a meeting with the Israeli ambassador to Australia.

“Those doing humanitarian work and civilians need to be provided with protection. Australia has had a very clear position of supporting a sustainable ceasefire,” he said in Ipswich.

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

Zomi Frankcom with her family.
Zomi Frankcom with her family. Credit: Supplied

Mr Albanese added to tributes for the dedicated aid worker.

“I didn’t have the honour of knowing her but the sort of values that are shown by someone going into a very dangerous place in order to assist mankind... says everything about the character of this young woman,” Mr Albanese said.

“Wherever there are difficulties in the world you will find Australians helping out. It’s something about our character that comes to the fore during the most difficult times.

“When you look at the number of innocent lives who have been lost in Gaza and in Israel it is completely unacceptable.

“We’ve called for a political solution, that means a two-state solution to benefit in the long-term.”

The passports of slain aid workers, including Zomi Frankcom's, are held up after the airstrike.
The passports of slain aid workers, including Zomi Frankcom's, are held up after the airstrike. Credit: Supplied/X

Ms Frankcom’s “dear friend” Karuna Bajracharya said on Facebook: “Zomi risked her life many times to help those in dire need”.

“Rest in peace our beautiful sister,” they wrote.

Robert Egger, a board member at WCK, said on Facebook: “Viva Dear, Caring Zomi Frankcom and her courageous colleagues.”

Two weeks ago, Ms Frankcom posted a short video from aboard a C130 Royal Jordanian Air Force cargo plane, which according to the official WCK Instagram account was filmed “after completing an airdrop of desperately-needed aid to northern Gaza”.

“Our team has provided 150,000 meals via airdrops as we use all humanitarian aid routes — air, land, sea — to support Palestinians,” the post said.

Zomi Frankcom in a video posted to Instagram for World Central Kitchen.
Zomi Frankcom in a video posted to Instagram for World Central Kitchen. Credit: Instagram

The Australian woman said in the video: “We have just completed a successful drop of more meals into northern Gaza.”

“We also have our ship from Cyprus that has led to hundreds of thousands more meals and our team, our kitchens inside of Gaza itself continue to cook around a quarter of a million meals each day and about 20,000 pieces of bread,” she said.

According to her LinkedIn account, Ms Frankcom had been senior manager, Asia Operations, at World Central Kitchen since August 2022 and was previously employed at the Commonwealth Bank in Sydney from 2010 to 2018.

She graduated from Sydney’s St George Girls High School in 1998 and studied psychology at Swinburne University in Melbourne.

Zomi Frankcom, an Australian aid worker, has been killed in Gaza.
Zomi Frankcom had been senior manager, Asia Operations, at World Central Kitchen since August 2022. Credit: World Central Kitchen/X

After they were killed in the airstrike, Ms Frankcom and two other foreign nationals were pictured at a Gaza hospital with their passports on their bodies. One was British and another was Polish while the nationality of the fourth victim was not known.

Local media published the graphic images and condemned the attack.

WCK founder, the US-based celebrity chef Josè Andrès, said he was “heartbroken” at the loss of the “angels”.

“Today, (02/04 AEDT) #WCKitchen lost several of our sisters and brothers in an IDF air strike in Gaza. I am heartbroken and grieving for their families and friends and our whole WCK family,” he said.“These are people…angels…I served alongside in Ukraine, Gaza”, Turkey, Morocco, Bahamas, Indonesia.“They are not faceless…they are not nameless.

“The Israeli government needs to stop this indiscriminate killing. It needs to stop restricting humanitarian aid, stop killing civilians and aid workers, and stop using food as a weapon.“No more innocent lives lost. Peace starts with our shared humanity. It needs to start now.”

Gaza
WCK founder, the US based celebrity cef Josè Andrès, said he was “heartbroken” at the loss of the “angels”. Credit: AP

Mr Albanese said that the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade was “urgently investigating”.

“I’m very concerned about the loss of life that is occurring in Gaza,” he said.

“My government has supported a sustainable ceasefire. We’ve called for the release of hostages. And there have been far too many innocent lives of Palestinian and Israeli lost during the Gaza-Hamas conflict.”

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

“The IDF makes extensive efforts to enable the safe delivery of humanitarian aid, and has been working closely with WCK in their vital efforts to provide food and humanitarian aid to the people of Gaza,” it said in a statement.

A White House spokesperson said Americans were “heartbroken and deeply troubled” by the deaths.

More than 32,000 Palestinians have been killed, including 63 in the past 24 hours, in Israel’s military offensive in Gaza, according to the Palestinian health authorities.

In the October 7 attack, Hamas killed 1200 people and took 253 hostages, according to Israeli tallies. The military has published the names of 257 soldiers killed in Gaza combat.

The WCK delivers food relief and prepares meals for people in need. It said last month it had served more than 42 million meals in Gaza over 175 days.

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