Humanitarian Aid Community Mourns the Loss of Several Colleagues

Ethiopian Airlines

A devastating plane crash outside Addis Ababa in Ethiopia on Sunday, March 10, 2019, claimed the lives of 157 passengers and crew members. Those aboard the Ethiopian airlines flight represented 35 nations and many of the victims were humanitarian aid workers. Four of those aid workers represented a Christian aid organization.

4 Christian Aid Workers Among the Dead

“It is with heavy hearts that we share the news that four members of our staff were killed when Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 crashed just after take-off Sunday morning. Their names are: Sara Chalachew, Getnet Alemayehu, Sintayehu Aymeku and Mulusew Alemu,” Catholic Relief Services (CRS) said in a statement issued after the plane crash.

The four workers were Ethiopian nationals and were traveling on the flight from Addis Ababa to Nairobi, Kenya, to attend a training on behalf of CRS.

The organization, a U.S.-based nonprofit, facilitates “programs of emergency response, HIV, health, agriculture, education, microfinance and peacebuilding” and works in more than 100 countries.

In their statement, CRS described what each worker did for the organization:

Sintayehu served CRS/Ethiopia from January 1, 2017 to January 15, 2018 as Senior Procurement Officer in the Administration Department.  Since January 16, 2019 he served as a Procurement Manager in Supplies Chain Department. He is survived by his wife and his three daughters.

Sara served CRS/Ethiopia since January 18, 2010 as Commodity Accountant, Senior Commodity Accounts Officer in Logistics department and since December 1, 2018, she served as Senior Project Officer for Grants.

Mulusew served CRS/Ethiopia since May 18, 2015, as Finance Officer, Project Grant Accountant and Senior Finance Officer in the Finance Department.

Getnet served CRS/Ethiopia from August 10, 2009 to November 30, 2018 as Procurement Officer, Senior Procurement Officer in the Administration Department. Since December 1, 2018, he served as Senior Project Officer, Procurement & Compliance. He is survived by his wife and his one daughter.

Other Humanitarian Aid Workers Also Perished

The nonprofit Save the Children announced they lost their colleague Tamirat Mulu Demessie in the crash.

Several representatives of humanitarian organizations partnering with the United Nations were aboard the plane. The UN’s Environment Assembly conference is being held in Nairobi, Kenya, currently, and many international aid workers were traveling to the Kenyan capital to attend the conference. Victims include workers from the World Food Programme, the Red Cross and UNICEF, among others.

A pastor, the Reverend Norman Tendis from Austria, was also on the flight, on his way to attend the UN conference.

A professor and award-winning writer, Pius Adesanmi, was also aboard the plane.

Many of these workers died while trying to find solutions to make the world better. CRS summed the tragedy up in their statement by pointing out the reason these people did what they did. “Although we are in mourning, we celebrate the lives of these colleagues and the selfless contributions they made to our mission, despite the risks and sacrifices that humanitarian work can often entail.”

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Megan Briggs
Megan Briggs is a writer and editor for Her experience in ministry, an extensive amount of which was garnered overseas, gives her a unique perspective on the global church. She has the longsuffering and altruistic nature of foreign friends and missionaries to humbly thank for this experience. Megan is passionate about seeking and proclaiming the truth. When she’s not writing, Megan likes to explore God’s magnificent creation.