Ethiopian Airlines

Apart from Canada-based professor of Literary Arts, Carleton University, Pius Adesanmi, who died carrying a Canadian passport, the other Nigerian, Abiodun Bashua, who had a UN passport, was among 19 UN officials who perished in the ill-fated Ethiopian Airline crash on Sunday.

Bashua was a former UN and African Union (AU) Deputy Joint Special Representative in Darfur, Sudan.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) said Bashua, a retired Nigerian career ambassador, was until his death, working on contract with the United Nations Economic Commission of Africa (UNECA).

Following the crash, the UN Department of Safety and Security in Kenya, said in a statement the plane had on board no fewer than 19 of its officials.

Details of the officials lost from the different UN agencies and affiliates include six staff from the World Food Programme (WFP), two each from the Office of the High Commissioner on Refugees (UNHCR) and the International Telecommunications Union (ITU).

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

Six staff from the UN Office in Nairobi (UNON) were also affected.

As a mark of respect IOM said it would “fly its flag at half-mast at its offices today, as will the UN and its agencies”.

The UN Secretary-General António Guterres said in a statement he was “deeply saddened at the tragic loss of lives.”

The UN chief conveyed his “heartfelt sympathies and solidarity to the victims’ families and loved ones, including those of United Nations staff members, as well as sincere condolences to the Government and people of Ethiopia”.

The statement said the UN was in contact with the Ethiopian authorities and “working closely with them to establish the details of United Nations personnel who lost their lives in this tragedy” the Secretary-General stated.

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 in the Kenyan capital.

Many senior UN officials took to Social Media to express their condolences and sadness.

On Twitter, José Graziano da Silva, Director General of the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO,) sent his “heartfelt condolences and sympathies to the bereaved families”, saying that one FAO staff member was among the victims.

Executive Director of the World Food Programme (WFP), David Beasley, tweeted that “the WFP family mourns today”, revealing WFP staff were also among those on board the 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”, he said.

Houlin Zhao, ITU Secretary General, tweeted his “sincere condolences to the families and friends of those who lost their lives in the plane crash”.

Noting that two ITU staff were on the flight, he said: “Our colleagues in Addis are providing support to their families during this difficult time.”

“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”, Henrietta Fore, Executive Director of the UN Children’s Fund, tweeted.

On behalf of the UN Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat), whose Headquarters are in Nairobi, Executive Director Maimunah Sharif tweeted her “deepest condolences and prayers to the Great Nation of Ethiopia and to the families of the passengers and crew members who lost their lives in this tragedy.

“May they rest in eternal peace,” Sharif said.

High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi issued a condolence statement saying: “UNHCR has suffered today a huge loss”.

IOM Director-General António Vitorino issued a statement expressing his deep sadness over the 157 lives lost, “including a young IOM staff member Anne-Katrin Feigl”, who “was en route to a training course in Nairobi as part of her role as a Junior Professional Officer”.

Catherine Northing, Chief of the IOM Mission in Sudan where Feigl worked, called her “an extremely valued colleague and popular staff member, committed and professional”, saying “her tragic passing has left a big hole and we will all miss her greatly”.

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