More than 35 UN, African Union, and relief workers killed in the airline disaster.

At least 35 aid workers, peacekeepers, or staff of international organisations are among the 149 passengers who died in the Ethiopian Airlines crash – the deadliest commercial airline accident involving UN staff in decades.

Dozens of aid workers, peacekeepers among Ethiopia air crash victims.

Geneva, 11 March 2019

All 157 passengers and crew from more than 30 countries died when Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 crashed minutes after take-off from Addis Ababa to Nairobi early on Sunday morning. The cause of the crash is under investigation.

The UN intially confirmed at least 19 staff and consultants were on board, but the total may be higher. A spokesperson for the African Union told IRIN that four staff or associates working with the continental body had died, but again there could be further AU casualties. US-based Catholic Relief Services announced four staff were killed.

Among the fatalities are a Ugandan police commissioner working in the AU mission in Somalia, and the founder of the International Committee for the Development of Peoples, an Italian charity known by its acronym CISP.

Significant numbers of international development and civil service staff work in the region, and the routing from Addis Ababa to Nairobi linked two large East African hubs on the eve of an environmental conference held at the UN office in Nairobi.

Aid workers and observers commenting on the crash recalled other aviation accidents involving aid workers and UN officials, including the following:

1998: Nine UN workers died on SwissAir Flight 111 from New York to Geneva

1999: In Kosovo, 24 people died in a crash of a UN-chartered plane

2008: Seven UN and four NGO staff were among 17 passengers and crew who died in a chartered aid flight near Bukavu, in the Democratic Republic of Congo

2011: UN staff made up 24 of 32 fatalities on a UN peacekeeping charter that crash landed at Kinshasa airport .

Senior Editor: Ben Parker

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