WHO Staff Member Killed in Gaza – It is with profound sorrow that the World Health Organization (WHO) mourns the passing of one of its staff members in Gaza, an occupied Palestinian territory. 29-year-old Dima Abdulla Mohammed Alhaj had been with the organization since December 2019 and had worked as a patient administration specialist at the Limb Reconciliation Centre, a key component of the WHO’s Trauma and Rescue Team.
Today, Dima lost her life when her parents’ house in southern Gaza, which she had evacuated from Gaza City, was attacked. She was found dead alongside her husband, a six-month-old baby boy, and two brothers. It is reported that more than fifty family and community members who were hiding in the same house were also killed.
Dima had obtained a bachelor’s degree in Environmental and earth sciences from the University of Gaza and continued to pursue her studies and work on environmental and health issues. She was also a master’s student at Glasgow University in the United Kingdom, studying Erasmus as part of the 2018-2019 exchange program.
On Women’s Day 2022, Dima said in a WHO social media post that she was proud of her work because “it contributes to giving people hope and a new lease on life.”
Dr Rik Peeperkorn, the WHO representative in the occupied Palestinian territory said “she was a wonderful person with a radiant smile, cheerful, positive, respectful. She was a true team player. Her work was crucial, and she had been requested to take on even more responsibilities to support the Gaza suboffice and team. This is such a painful loss for all of us. We share our deepest condolences with her mother and father (a long-serving medical specialist in Gaza), her family, and her many friends.”
The humanitarian community and UN family have lost other members since 7 October. MSF today lost two doctors. UNRWA has lost 108 colleagues. These are not just numbers, but people who were working so that others could have a better life.
The death of Dima and her family is another example of the senseless loss in this conflict. Civilians have died in their homes, at their workplaces, while evacuating, while sheltering in schools, while being cared for in hospitals.
When will it stop?
WHO plead again with all those who hold in their hands the power to end this conflict to do so.
All of the WHO stands alongside Dima’s family and colleagues in the occupied Palestinian territory, the Regional Office for the Eastern Mediterranean, and across the organization to mourn her loss.