Ethiopian Airlines plane crash dubbed humanitarian tragedy as 19 UN staffers perish – National


Of the 157 victims killed Sunday morning in an Ethiopian Airlines plane crash outside the country’s capital, Addis Ababa, 19 were humanitarian aid workers.

The United Nations issued a statement Sunday afternoon expressing its sadness at the loss of 19 staffers across a wide range of its many branches.

Ethiopian Airlines crash kills all 157 onboard, including 18 Canadians

The World Food Programme lost six staff; the Office of the High Commissioner on Human Rights and the International Telecommunications Union both lost two; the Food and Agriculture Organization, the International Organization for Migration in South Sudan, World Bank and the UN Assistance Mission in Somalia each lost one staff member; and the UN Office in Nairobi lost six.

The passenger jet bound for the Kenyan capital of Nairobi crashed minutes after takeoff, killing everyone on board.

UN Secretary General António Guterres tweeted his condolences.

“Deeply saddened by the news this morning of the plane crash in Ethiopia, claiming the lives of all on board. My heartfelt condolences to the families and loved ones of all the victims — including our own @UN staff — who perished in this tragedy,” his tweet read.

Several other UN leaders took to social media to offer condolences.

“My heartfelt condolences and sympathies to the bereaved families of the #EthiopianAirlines #ET302 plane crash. Among the victims are @UN staff members including one from @FAO. We are working to get in touch with family members and assist them in this time of tremendous pain,” tweeted José Graziano da Silva, director general of the Food and Agriculture Organization.

“The WFP family mourns today — @WFP staff were among those aboard the Ethiopian Airlines flight. We will do all that is humanly possible to help the families at this painful time. Please keep them in your thoughts and prayers,” tweeted David Beasley, executive director of the World Food Programme.

UNICEF executive director Henrietta H. Fore also issued a statement.

“All of us at UNICEF mourn the tragic loss of our UN colleagues and all those who died in the Ethiopian Airlines crash today. May they rest in peace. Our thoughts are with their families and loved ones,” her statement read.

Borge Brende, president of the World Economic Forum, also offered his thoughts and condolences to the loved ones of those killed.

The fatalities comprise citizens of 35 countries, including 18 Canadians. Few of the victims have been identified, though a Carleton University professor and a mother and daughter from Edmonton have been confirmed dead.

Kenya lost the most citizens in the tragedy, with 32 dead, according to Kenyan officials.

Sunday’s flight left Bole International Airport in Addis Ababa at 8:38 a.m. (5:38 a.m. GMT), before losing contact with the control tower just a few minutes later at 8:44 a.m.

Ethiopian Airlines crash victims hail from 35 countries, include doctors and aid workers

The plane likely was carrying people set to attend a major United Nations environmental conference in Nairobi — the UN Environment Assembly is set to begin on Monday in Kenya’s capital.

A Canadian delegation was expected to attend the conference, but it’s not known if they were aboard the doomed aircraft, a government source confirmed to Global News.

—With files from Rahul Kalvapalle and the Associated Press

© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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