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UN Offices Fly Flag at Half-Mast Mourning Colleagues Killed in Gaza

United Nations employees around the world observed a minute’s silence while flags were flown at half-mast on Monday, in honor of over 100 colleagues in the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees Near East (UNRWA) who have been killed in Gaza during the last month of the Israel-Hamas conflict.

The toll marks the highest number of relief workers ever lost in the U.N.’s 78-year history.

According to its press release, UNWRA has 13,000 staff members along with their families, as well as teachers, school principals, medical professionals, engineers, support personnel on the ground in Gaza.

At the U.N. offices in Geneva, staff bowed their heads as a candle flickered in memory of the 101 employees.

Tatiana Valovaya, Director-General of the U.N. office in Geneva, somberly remarked, “This is the highest number of aid workers killed in the history of our organization in such a short time.”

The victims, including UNRWA staff, faced peril while queuing for essential supplies and in their homes during Israel’s aerial and ground operations against Hamas.

UNRWA Director in Gaza, Tom White, expressed appreciation for the global lowering of U.N. flags but stressed the resilience of their mission in Gaza. “In Gaza, however, we have to keep the U.N. flag flying high as a sign that we are still standing and serving the people of Gaza,” White said in a statement.

UNRWA shelters roughly 780,000 Palestinians seeking security and safety under the UN flag in over 150 facilities around the Gaza Strip. During the recent conflict, over 60 UN facilities, including those providing refuge, have been damaged by airstrikes, with at least 70% of the facilities destroyed in the central and southern regions.