Tribute to the UN humanitarian mission team that died in a tragic accident 20 years ago

Today, we pay our tribute to our UN colleagues who have lost their lives on their honored mission to help the dzud-stricken herders in Mongolia 20 years ago.

UN Humanitarian team on mission
UN Humanitarian team on mission, January 2001

Today is the 20th anniversary of an unfortunate helicopter crash in Mongolia where some of our UN colleagues from OCHA, UNICEF and UNFPA lost their lives, while on their way to evaluate the situation and impact of a severe Dzud. The team was on its way to the Province of Uvs, about 600 miles west of Ulaanbaatar, to evaluate the humanitarian needs of the country battered by severe weather conditions over long periods.

The crash took the lives of Sabine Metzner-Strack, from UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), Mathew Girvin, Programme Officer, UNICEF and Batchuluuny Bayarmaa, National Programme Officer, UNFPA. Six other people also died in the incident including Gerald Le Claire, a disaster management expert, three Mongolian nationals - a member of Parliament, a photographer and a helicopter technician, and a two-person crew from the Japanese NHK television network.

Let us observe a moment of silence today to reflect on the greatest sacrifice that our UN colleagues and partners have made over the decades, working for what they believe in – a better world for everyone.

Tapan Mishra, UN Resident Coordinator for Mongolia

Speech by
Author
Tapan Mishra
Resident Coordinator
RCO
Tapan Mishra, UN Resident Coordinator
UN entities involved in this initiative
OCHA
United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
UNFPA
United Nations Population Fund
UNICEF
United Nations Children’s Fund