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19 UN-affiliated staff killed in Ethiopian crash

Storyline:National News, World


The United Nations lost 19 of its staff in the ill-fated Ethiopian Airlines flight ET302, which crashed on Sunday shortly after take-off.

A statement from UN said World Food Programme (WFP) lost seven staff, Office of the High Commissioner on Refugees (UNHCR) lost two, while the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) lost a similar number.

The Food and Agriculture Organisation (Fao), International Organisation for Migration (IOM) in Sudan, World Bank and UN Assistance Mission in Somalia (UNSOM) each lost one staff member.

Six staff from the UN Office in Nairobi (UNON) also died in the latest air disaster involving the Boeing 737 MAX craft.

People from 35 nationalities lost their lives, with Kenyans being the majority at 32.

The flight also had 18 Canadians, nine Ethiopians and eight Americans.

So far, the cause of the crash has not been known, although weather conditions were reportedly good and the plane went down in a field near Bishoftu, around 35 miles southeast of the capital Addis.

The UN added in the statement that the disaster happened on the eve of the UN Environment Assembly when Heads of State, environment ministers and thousands of others will convene for five days at Gigiri Nairobi.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres sent sympathies to and expressed solidarity with the victims’ families and loved ones, including those of United Nations staff members.

The Boeing airliner headed for Nairobi took off before losing contact with air traffic control at Bole International Airport, just six minutes later.