The World Health Organization (WHO) is mourning the loss of one of its dedicated staff members, Dima Abdullatif Mohammed Alhaj, in the embattled region of Gaza. At just 29 years old, Dima, a patient administrator at the Limb Reconstruction Centre, lost her life along with her husband, six-month-old baby boy, and two brothers in a bombing that claimed over 50 other family and community members seeking refuge in the same house.
This tragic incident underscores the indiscriminate nature of the violence, highlighting the grim reality faced by civilians in their homes, workplaces, and even in places meant for shelter. WHO Director Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus expressed his deep sorrow at the loss, stating, “I have no words to describe our grief.”
WHO staff member killed in Gaza
With heavy hearts, WHO announces the death of one of our staff in #Gaza, in the occupied Palestinian territory. Dima Abdullatif Mohammed Alhaj, 29 years old, had been with WHO since December 2019. She worked as a patient administrator at the Limb… pic.twitter.com/HLJ2sXmU2T
— World Health Organization (WHO) (@WHO) November 21, 2023
The Palestinian authorities report a staggering 14,100 casualties, intensifying global apprehension over the relentless air and ground assault that commenced on October 7. Dima, a true example of dedication, had been with WHO since December 2019, symbolizing another human face falling victim to the ongoing Israeli massacre of civilians.
A Life Dedicated to Service
Dima Alhaj, a 29-year-old patient administrator at the Limb Reconstruction Centre, dedicated her life to serving others. With a bachelor’s degree in Environmental and Earth Sciences from the Islamic University of Gaza and ongoing studies at Glasgow University in Scotland, Dima was not only academically accomplished but also deeply committed to environmental issues and health.
As part of the WHO Trauma and Emergency Team, her work was crucial in contributing to the well-being of those in need. The WHO representative in the occupied Palestinian territory, Dr. Rik Peeperkorn, described her as a wonderful person with a radiant smile, cheerful, positive, and respectful—a true team player.
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As the humanitarian community and the United Nations family mourn the loss of individuals like Dima, the senseless loss in the conflict becomes evident. Civilians, including dedicated professionals like Dima, have perished in their homes, workplaces, and even in places meant for safety. The WHO fervently pleads with those in power to intervene and bring an end to this devastating conflict that continues to claim innocent lives.
A Plea to End the Conflict
Dima Alhaj’s death is not an isolated incident but part of a larger humanitarian crisis. Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) mourns the loss of two doctors, and the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) reports the loss of a staggering 108 colleagues. These casualties are not mere statistics but individuals committed to improving the lives of others.
The WHO, alongside the broader international community, pleads with those wielding power to end this onslaught and bring an end to the senseless loss of life.