UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has said in a statement that he is “deeply saddened at the tragic loss of lives” in a crash involving an Ethiopian Airlines flight, shortly after takeoff in Addis Ababa on Sunday, 10 March 2019 killing everyone on board.
Mr Guterres 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”.
According to the UN Department of Safety and Security in Kenya, 19 UN staff perished in the crash. The World Food Programme (WFP) lost seven staff, the Office of the High Commissioner on Refugees (UNHCR) lost two, as did the International Telecommunications Union (ITU). The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), International Organization 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) were also tragically killed.
The cause of the disaster is not yet known, although weather conditions were reportedly good. The plane went down in a field near Bishoftu, around 35 miles southeast of the capital.
The UN is 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”, Mr Guterres stated.