UN family remembers colleagues who perished in Ethiopian Airlines crash

Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, March 10, 2020 (ECA) – The United Nations family in Ethiopia on Tuesday held a memorial wreath-laying ceremony honoring the lives of 21 U.N. staff members who died last year when an Ethiopian Airlines plane crashed shortly after leaving Addis Ababa killing all 157 people aboard.

Vera Songwe, the Executive Secretary of the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA), spoke with sadness about the tragic crash and the great loss to the UN and the families.

She said the UN did not only lose dedicated and seasoned staff members in the line of duty.

“Many of our families have passed away doing good old development work… trying to make sure one more life is changed for the better. We will continue to ensure that each morning that we wake up, we go back to bed knowing there is one life that is better,” Ms. Songwe said in her remarks.

The ECA Chief led the wreath-laying ceremony in honour of the 21 who were among the 157 victims of the crash. Candles were lit for each of the 21 by their family members who earlier attended a similar event hosted by the Ethiopian Airlines at the scene of the crash.

Mr. Steven Were Omamo, the World Food Programme (WFP) Country Representative for Ethiopia, offered his deepest condolences to the families and UN colleagues.

“No amount of words can capture the depth of the loss you have experienced. Deepest condolences once again as we remember our dear colleagues who perished in the crash last year,” he said.

Families, airline staff, government representatives, diplomats and others joined the UN in the ceremony that was held at the ECA premises.

Most of the U.N. staff members aboard the plane were headed to a major U.N. environment conference in Nairobi.

An airline industry final report on what caused the Boeing 737 MAX to crash is expected this week.

Issued by:

Communications Section
Economic Commission for Africa
PO Box 3001
Addis Ababa
Tel: +251 11 551 5826
E-mail: eca-info@un.org