United Nations staff members were aboard the Ethiopian Airlines flight that crashed on Sunday, according to Stephane Dujarric, the spokesman for UN Secretary-General António Guterres.
“The Secretary-General was deeply saddened at the tragic loss of lives in the airplane crash today near Addis Ababa. He conveys 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,” Dujarric said in a statement.
Dujarric said the UN is working with Ethiopian officials to get details on UN personnel who died.
A UN official said there were a number of UN staff on board and there may have also been some freelance interpreters. The difficulty is that UN members don’t always travel with their UN passports so the organization does not have a full number at the moment.
More than 4,700 political, business and civil society officials are gathering in Nairobi for the UN Environment Assembly, which runs from March 11 to 15.
Rescue teams collect remains of bodies amid debris at the crash site of Ethiopia Airlines near Bishoftu, a town some 60 kilometres southeast of Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, on March 10, 2019.
In addition, staff members from the World Food Programme were on board the flight, WFP Executive Director David Beasley said.
“The WFP family mourns today…WFP staff were among those aboard the Ethiopian Airlines flight,” Beasley tweeted, adding the organization “will do all that is humanly possible to help the families at this painful time.”
“Please keep them in your thoughts and prayers,” he added.