Economy / Finance, Environment, Sustainable Development

UN Pays Homage to Staffers Who Died in Plane Crash

Mar 12 2019

By Thalif Deen *

UNITED NATIONS, Mar 12 2019 (IPS) – The United Nations headquarters is in mourning – and the UN flag is at half mast.

The deaths of 21 UN staffers March 10, on board an Ethiopian Airlines flight in Addis Ababa, is one of the biggest tragedies in the extended UN family—with a flashback to the deaths of 22 people, mostly UN staffers, who lost their lives in the Canal Hotel bombing in the Iraqi capital of Baghdad in August 2003.

The tragedy on Sunday had a wider impact because the UN staffers—enroute from Addis Ababa to Nairobi for the Fourth UN Environment Assembly March 11-15—were from 12 UN agencies and peacekeeping missions, plus representatives of civil society organizations (CSOs).

In the annals of UN tragedies, Dag Hammarskjöld of Sweden, the second Secretary-General of the United Nations (1953-1961), paid the ultimate price for peace when he died in a mysterious plane crash back in September 1961, which still remains unresolved after 58 long years.

Addressing delegates, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said; “A global tragedy has hit close to home—and the United Nations is united in grief.”

Extending his deepest condolences to the families and loved ones of all the victims, to the government and people of Ethiopia, and all those affected by the disaster, he said: “Our colleagues were women and men—junior professionals and seasoned officials—hailing from all corners of the globe and with a wide array of expertise.”

They all had one thing in common, he said, “a spirit to serve the people of the world and to make it a better place for us all”.

A breakdown of the number of staffers from each of the agencies and peacekeeping missions, includes the Food and Agriculture Organization(1), the International Telecommunications Union (2), the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (3), the World Food Programme (7), UN Assistance Mission in Somalia  (1), the UN Development Programme (1),  the International Organization of Migration (1), the International Labour Organization (1), UN Office of the Coordinator for Humanitarian Affairs (1), the UN Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (1), UN Support Office for the African Union Mission in Somalia  (1) and the World Meteorological Organization (1).

In a statement released Monday, the World Food Programme, which accounted for the largest number of deaths, said it is in mourning for seven WFP staff members who lost their lives.

“ As we confront this terrible loss, we reflect that all these WFP colleagues were willing to travel and work far from their homes and loved ones to help make the world a better place to live in. That was their calling, as it is for the rest of the WFP family.”

Ekta Adhikari (28) from Nepal, whose duty station was Addis Ababa

Maria Pilar Buzzetti (30) from Italy, duty station Rome

Virginia Chimenti (26) from Italy, duty station Rome

Harina Hafitz (59) from Indonesia, duty station Rome

Zhen-Zhen Huang (46) from China, duty station Rome

Michael Ryan (39) from Ireland, duty station Rome

Djordje Vdovic (53) from Serbia, duty station Bangkok, on assignment to Rome

The WFP said: “We also mourn the loss of our colleagues at other United Nations agencies and all of those who died in the crash. Among them was Victor Tsang, a former employee of WFP who moved to the UN Environment Programme (UNEP). We ask that everyone keep those who lost loved ones in their thoughts and prayers.”

FAO Director General José Graziano da Silva said: “My heartfelt condolences and sympathies to the bereaved families of the #Ethiopian Airlines #ET302 plane crash”

Among the victims, he said, were 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”

The Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 737 Max 8 plane was carrying 149 passengers and eight crew members, from 35 countries, when it took a nose dive six minutes after leaving the airport in Addis Ababa.

At last count, the passengers, included 32 Kenyan citizens, 18 from Canada, nine from Ethiopia, eight from Italy, China and the US, and seven from the UK and France.

Ian Richards, President of the 60,000-strong Coordinating Committee of International Staff Unions and Associations (CCISUA), told IPS: “Our colleagues are devastated by the loss of life in yesterday’s plane crash.”

He said many knew the victims or were familiar with their work.

“With every hour that passes we are learning more about the amazing things they were doing to make this world a better place, whether working on the environment, migration, humanitarian or other areas, and we won’t forget this.”

“Naturally our thoughts are with their families at this time and we will work with administration to make sure they get all the assistance they need,” Richards added.

At the opening of the UN assembly in Nairobi, delegates paid their respects with a moment of silence, according to press reports from the Kenyan capital.

Siim Kiisler, the Estonian environment minister, said: “We have lost fellow delegates, interpreters and UN staff.” “I express my condolences to those who lost loved ones in the crash.”

Inger Andersen, the incoming UN environment chief, said the organisation was “devastated”.

Among those who died were delegates from the African Diaspora Youth Forum in Europe, the US-based Save the Children and the Norway-based Association of Arctic Expedition Cruise Operators.

Karanja Quindos, a retired teacher from Bahati, in Kenya’s Nakuru County, lost his wife Anne Wangui, his daughter Caroline Nduta, and his three grandchildren; Ryan Njoroge, 7, Kellie Paul, 4, and nine-month-old Ruby Paul.

Also on the flight was Isabella Beryl Achie, from Homabay county about 300 kilometres west of Nairobi. She had been travelling home from Egypt where had recently facilitated a seminar.

Meanwhile, the Kenyan and Ethiopian governments are planning to fly family members of the victims to Addis Ababa as plans to identify their remains get underway. In a joint press statement, Kenya’s Transport Cabinet Secretary James Macharia and Ethiopian Airlines’ Kenya country manager Yilma Goshu said that the government has reached out to the families of 25 of the 32 Kenyans who perished in the Sunday morning crash.

Ethiopian Airlines also announced on Monday that the black box of the ill-fated flight had been recovered as efforts to piece together clues as to what may have happened to the plane begin. UNITED NATIONS, Mar 12 2019 (IPS) – The United Nations headquarters is in mourning – and the UN flag is at half mast.

The deaths of 21 UN staffers March 10, on board an Ethiopian Airlines flight in Addis Ababa, is one of the biggest tragedies in the extended UN family—with a flashback to the deaths of 22 people, mostly UN staffers, who lost their lives in the Canal Hotel bombing in the Iraqi capital of Baghdad in August 2003.

The tragedy on Sunday had a wider impact because the UN staffers—enroute from Addis Ababa to Nairobi for the Fourth UN Environment Assembly March 11-15—were from 12 UN agencies and peacekeeping missions, plus representatives of civil society organizations (CSOs).

In the annals of UN tragedies, Dag Hammarskjöld of Sweden, the second Secretary-General of the United Nations (1953-1961), paid the ultimate price for peace when he died in a mysterious plane crash back in September 1961, which still remains unresolved after 58 long years.

Addressing delegates, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said; “A global tragedy has hit close to home—and the United Nations is united in grief.”

Extending his deepest condolences to the families and loved ones of all the victims, to the government and people of Ethiopia, and all those affected by the disaster, he said: “Our colleagues were women and men—junior professionals and seasoned officials—hailing from all corners of the globe and with a wide array of expertise.”

They all had one thing in common, he said, “a spirit to serve the people of the world and to make it a better place for us all”.

A breakdown of the number of staffers from each of the agencies and peacekeeping missions, includes the Food and Agriculture Organization(1), the International Telecommunications Union (2), the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (3), the World Food Programme (7), UN Assistance Mission in Somalia  (1), the UN Development Programme (1),  the International Organization of Migration (1), the International Labour Organization (1), UN Office of the Coordinator for Humanitarian Affairs (1), the UN Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (1), UN Support Office for the African Union Mission in Somalia  (1) and the World Meteorological Organization (1).

In a statement released Monday, the World Food Programme, which accounted for the largest number of deaths, said it is in mourning for seven WFP staff members who lost their lives.

“ As we confront this terrible loss, we reflect that all these WFP colleagues were willing to travel and work far from their homes and loved ones to help make the world a better place to live in. That was their calling, as it is for the rest of the WFP family.”

Ekta Adhikari (28) from Nepal, whose duty station was Addis Ababa

Maria Pilar Buzzetti (30) from Italy, duty station Rome

Virginia Chimenti (26) from Italy, duty station Rome

Harina Hafitz (59) from Indonesia, duty station Rome

Zhen-Zhen Huang (46) from China, duty station Rome

Michael Ryan (39) from Ireland, duty station Rome

Djordje Vdovic (53) from Serbia, duty station Bangkok, on assignment to Rome

The WFP said: “We also mourn the loss of our colleagues at other United Nations agencies and all of those who died in the crash. Among them was Victor Tsang, a former employee of WFP who moved to the UN Environment Programme (UNEP). We ask that everyone keep those who lost loved ones in their thoughts and prayers.”

FAO Director General José Graziano da Silva said: “My heartfelt condolences and sympathies to the bereaved families of the #Ethiopian Airlines #ET302 plane crash”

Among the victims, he said, were 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”

The Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 737 Max 8 plane was carrying 149 passengers and eight crew members, from 35 countries, when it took a nose dive six minutes after leaving the airport in Addis Ababa.

At last count, the passengers, included 32 Kenyan citizens, 18 from Canada, nine from Ethiopia, eight from Italy, China and the US, and seven from the UK and France.

Ian Richards, President of the 60,000-strong Coordinating Committee of International Staff Unions and Associations (CCISUA), told IPS: “Our colleagues are devastated by the loss of life in yesterday’s plane crash.”

He said many knew the victims or were familiar with their work.

“With every hour that passes we are learning more about the amazing things they were doing to make this world a better place, whether working on the environment, migration, humanitarian or other areas, and we won’t forget this.”

“Naturally our thoughts are with their families at this time and we will work with administration to make sure they get all the assistance they need,” Richards added.

At the opening of the UN assembly in Nairobi, delegates paid their respects with a moment of silence, according to press reports from the Kenyan capital.

Siim Kiisler, the Estonian environment minister, said: “We have lost fellow delegates, interpreters and UN staff.” “I express my condolences to those who lost loved ones in the crash.”

Inger Andersen, the incoming UN environment chief, said the organisation was “devastated”.

Among those who died were delegates from the African Diaspora Youth Forum in Europe, the US-based Save the Children and the Norway-based Association of Arctic Expedition Cruise Operators.

Karanja Quindos, a retired teacher from Bahati, in Kenya’s Nakuru County, lost his wife Anne Wangui, his daughter Caroline Nduta, and his three grandchildren; Ryan Njoroge, 7, Kellie Paul, 4, and nine-month-old Ruby Paul.

Also on the flight was Isabella Beryl Achie, from Homabay county about 300 kilometres west of Nairobi. She had been travelling home from Egypt where had recently facilitated a seminar.

Meanwhile, the Kenyan and Ethiopian governments are planning to fly family members of the victims to Addis Ababa as plans to identify their remains get underway. In a joint press statement, Kenya’s Transport Cabinet Secretary James Macharia and Ethiopian Airlines’ Kenya country manager Yilma Goshu said that the government has reached out to the families of 25 of the 32 Kenyans who perished in the Sunday morning crash.

Ethiopian Airlines also announced on Monday that the black box of the ill-fated flight had been recovered as efforts to piece together clues as to what may have happened to the plane begin.

–Additional reporting by Benson Rioba in Nairobi

——————————-

*UN Bureau Chief and Regional Director IPS North America, has been covering the U.N. since the late 1970s. A former deputy news editor of the Sri Lanka Daily News, he was a senior editorial writer on the Hong Kong daily, The Standard. He can be contacted at thalifdeen@aol.com 

Annex:

Malaysia, Australia, Singapore Ground 737 MAX 8s As Pressure On Boeing Intensifies

By Tyler Durden*

Malaysia has joined many of its neighbors in the Asia-Pacific region in grounding all Boeing 737 MAX 8s. The Malaysian Aviation Authority has issued a statement on the grounding, it said the planes would be banned from flying until further notice.

Suspension of BOEING 737 MAX 8

Meanwhile, Bloomberg reported that Indonesia’s Lion Air, one of the biggest customers for the 737 Max, is refusing to take delivery of more planes and might even switch to Boeing rival Airbus as it remains bitter over the October crash that killed a plane full of people when a Boeing 737 MAX 8 plunged into the Java Sea.

Here’s an updated list of countries that have grounded the fourth-generation 737s compiled by the AP:

Australia   

Brazil

Cayman Islands

China

Ethiopia

India

Indonesia

Mexico

Singapore

South Korea

…and now Malaysia

Despite a reassuring (for some) statement from the FAA affirming that Boeing’s 737 MAX 8 planes remain “safe” for flight, more countries on Tuesday have opted to ground the planes, including Singapore and Australia, in a rare break with US air-travel regulators.

Australia’s Civil Aviation Safety Authority said on Tuesday that it had suspended the operation of all Boeing 737 MAX aircraft flying to or from the country. Since no Australian airlines fly the aircraft (though its Virgin Air recently ordered dozens of new MAX 8s), the decision only impacts the Singaporean airlines SilkAir and Fiji Airlines, according to the FT.

“This is a temporary suspension while we wait for more information to review the safety risks of continued operations of the Boeing 737 MAX,” said CASA’ chief executive and director of aviation safety, Shane Carmody, in a statement to the Sydney Morning Herald.

Meanwhile, Virgin Australia has 40 MAX aircraft on order, and said it was “closely watching the situation”, and hinted that it could change its order depending on the outcome of the investigation.

“With our first aircraft delivery not due until November this year, we believe there is sufficient time to consider the outcome of the investigation and make an assessment,” a Virgin spokeswoman said.

So far, more than half of the airlines flying the 737 MAX 8 have grounded the planes. Yesterday, China, Ethiopia and Indonesia grounded said they would wait for more details of Sunday’s crash to emerge, while a few Latin American countries followed suit. The plane only tered service in 2017, have grounded the aircraft, according to the New York Times.

Though Southwest Airlines and American Airlines have continued to use the aircraft, following the FAA’s advice, they said they would be keeping an eye on events.

The planes are typically used for international flights, or covering long distances domestically:

Boeing has delivered 350 of the aircraft since it entered service, and has a backlog of more than 5,000 orders.

Boeing shares closed off the lows on Monday, but appeared to be headed lower once again in pre-market trading. Tue, 03/12/2019

——————-

*Zero Hedge in-house content is posted under the pseudonym “Tyler Durden”, however, the founder and main editor was identified as Daniel IvandjiiskiBulgarian born, U.S.–based, former investment banker and capital markets trader, and currently financial blogger, who founded the website Zero Hedge in January 2009, and remains its main publisher and editor.

 

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