Zomi Frankcom: Australian aid worker killed in Gaza remembered in emotional US memorial

Max Corstorphan
The Nightly
Australian Zomi Frankcom was killed in an Israeli air strike while delivering food aid in Gaza. (HANDOUT/SUPPLIED)
Australian Zomi Frankcom was killed in an Israeli air strike while delivering food aid in Gaza. (HANDOUT/SUPPLIED) Credit: AAP

There were emotional scenes as seven aid workers killed in the Israel-Gaza conflict, including Australian Zomi Frankcom, have been remembered in Washington on Thursday morning local time.

Ms Frankcom, a long-serving aid worker, was one of the seven World Central Kitchen employees killed in Gaza by an Israeli air strike while trying to feed locals facing famine.

At a memorial service held in the Washington National Cathedral, World Central Kitchen founder, chef Jose Andres, paid tribute to to her and six other aid workers who lost their lives while delivering food aid in Gaza.

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“Our beloved Zomi,” Mr Andres choked back tears as he spoke of Ms Frankcom, “She was at the very heart of World Central Kitchen. She was the living, breathing, smiling heart of everything we did.”

Emotions ran high as Mr Andres spoke about Ms Frankcom, describing her as the heart of World Central Kitchen and a beacon of joy and compassion. He called for justice for the victims and emphasised the importance of humanitarian aid, declaring that “food is a universal human right.”

The solemn event, attended by hundreds and streamed online, honoured the dedication and sacrifice of these individuals.

The service, titled the World Central Kitchen Celebration of Life, was a multi-faith gathering that included reflections from religious leaders of various faiths.

Flags of the nations represented by the fallen aid workers adorned the pulpit, emphasising the international nature of their work.

Led by Reverend Randolph Marshall Holerith and Bishop Marianne Edgar Budde, the service included readings, hymns, and moments of remembrance for each aid worker.

Mr Andres, deeply moved, spoke passionately about each individual, highlighting their commitment to serving others and their impact on the world.

“The seven souls we mourn today were there so the hungry could eat,” Andres emotionally expressed, highlighting the profound purpose behind their humanitarian mission. “They risked everything to feed people. In the worst moments, the best of humanity show up … they were the best of humanity. Their example should inspire us to do better, to be better.”

Following Mr Andres’ heartfelt speech, renowned cellist Yo-Yo Ma performed a solo piece, providing a moment for reflection. The service concluded with messages of peace and prayers for those affected by conflict around the world.

The tragic incident drew condemnation globally, prompting action from the Israeli military and diplomatic efforts for peace talks. Despite the grief, the service served as a reminder of the importance of compassion and solidarity in times of crisis.

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

Ms Frankcom has been remembered as a kind, selfless and outstanding human by her family.

“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.

“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”.

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