A Calgarian working as a consultant for the World Food Programme who lost seven colleagues in the Ethiopian Airlines crash that killed all 157 on board says the tragedy should serve as a reminder of the importance of humanitarian work.
“They were all passionate about reaching zero hunger or passionate about women’s rights and getting kids in school and inclusion and things that really are troubling in the world right now,” said Lauren Webber — daughter of Calgary-Confederation MP Len Webber — who works as a consultant in the World Food Programme offices in Germany.
“They would want us to continue and carry their torch for them and not let their work go undone or unfinished. It’s our calling, as it is for the rest of the U.N. family and other agencies who died yesterday, we have to continue and keep them in our thoughts and in our hearts and continue the work that they were doing so selflessly.”
Seven people based out of the World Food Programme headquarters in Italy were on board Flight ET302, which crashed six minutes after takeoff from Addis Ababa around 8:45 a.m. local time Sunday, killing all 157 on board. The Boeing 737 Max 8 was destined for Nairobi.
Two of the seven World Food Programme employees killed in the crash were from Italy. The others were from Nepal, Indonesia, China, Ireland and Serbia.
The group, along with several others on board, was on their way to a United Nations conference in Kenya.
The World Food Progamme does work in 83 countries around the world, helping feed more than 91 million people each year.
“We had a moment of silence and just mourned and reflected on these amazing people, who were willing to travel and work so far from their homes and be away from their loved ones to help make the world a better place,” said Webber.
“It was a plane full of people that were trying to make the world a better place and end poverty and end hunger. They were so young. It was their calling and they were doing what they loved and their lives were taken so soon in such a crazy, senseless accident.”
Webber says she flew the same route 20 times last year.
“They call it the U.N. Shuttle because it quite a big diplomatic hub where there are a lot of big conferences and meetings,” she said.
“It just could have been any one of us.”
A total of 18 Canadians were killed in the crash, including Calgarian Derick Lwugi, 54, an accountant for the city and founder of the Kenyan Community in Calgary group.
Carleton University professor Pius Adesanmi, a mother-daughter pair from Edmonton, Amina Ibrahim Odowa, 33, and her daughter Sofia Abdulkadir, 5, and Winnipeg activist Danielle Moore were also among the Canadian victims.
Webber says another friend of hers from Ontario, who was working as an intern with UNICEF was also killed, through her name has not been released yet at the request of family.
“I just can’t imagine the suffering their families are feeling today and will suffer for a long time,” she said.
“I know that there was a U.N. Association in Canada group that were there as part of the Canada Service Corps.
“It likely was a group of young people going as the youth delegation, so I can only imagine all the young bright souls that haven’t been named yet.”
Knowing the world is grieving along with them makes it a little easier, said Webber.
“I know the humanitarian and development community is not alone today,” she said.
“The world is grieving so I guess I can take comfort in that. Their memories will live on and we can continue their legacy for them.
“We have to continue their legacies of kindness and love and taking care of one another. We have to do better now because they’re not here anymore.”
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Sherwood Park is a large hamlet in Alberta, Canada within Strathcona County that is recognized as an urban service area. It is located adjacent to the City of Edmonton’s eastern boundary, generally south of Highway 16 (Yellowhead Trail), west of Highway 21 and north of Highway 630 (Wye Road). Other portions of Sherwood Park extend beyond Yellowhead Trail and Wye Road, while Anthony Henday Drive (Highway 216) separates Refinery Row to the west from the balance of the hamlet to the east.
Sherwood Park was established in 1955 on farmland of the Smeltzer family, east of Edmonton. With a population of 70,618 in 2016, Sherwood Park has enough people to be Alberta’s seventh largest city, but technically retains the status of a hamlet. The Government of Alberta recognizes the Sherwood Park Urban Service Area as equivalent to a city.
Sherwood Park, originally named Campbelltown, was founded by John Hook Campbell and John Mitchell in 1953 when the Municipal District of Strathcona No. 83 approved their proposed development of a bedroom community east of Edmonton. The first homes within the community were marketed to the public in 1955. Canada Post intervened on the name of Campbelltown due to the existence of several other communities in Canada within the same name, so the community’s name was changed to Sherwood Park in 1956.
The Sherwood Park Urban Service Area is located in the Edmonton Capital Region along the western edge of central Strathcona County adjacent to the City of Edmonton. The majority of the community is bound by Highway 16 (Yellowhead Highway) to the north, Highway 21 to the east, Highway 630 (Wye Road) to the south, and Anthony Henday Drive (Highway 216) to the west. The Refinery Row portion of Sherwood Park is located across Anthony Henday Drive to the west, between Sherwood Park Freeway and Highway 16. Numerous developments fronting the south side of Wye Road, including Wye Gardens, Wye Crossing, Salisbury Village and the Estates of Sherwood Park, are also within the community. Lands north of Highway 16 and south of Township Road 534/Oldman Creek between Range Road 232 (Sherwood Drive) to the west and Highway 21 to the east are also within the Sherwood Park urban service area.