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More tributes pour in for victims of Ethiopian Airlines crash

More African scientists have been identified among the victims of the Ethiopian Airlines crash that claimed 157 lives on Sunday morning.

The Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine in the United Kingdom noted on 11 March that Grace Kariuki, a doctor with the Kenyan ministry of health and one of the dead, had been a grant beneficiary of Tupumue, a partnership on non-communicable diseases between LSTM and the Kenya Medical Research Institute launched earlier this year.

“We were looking forward to working with Dr Kariuki and supporting her career as a rising star in her field. It is devastating to learn and hard to believe that this is now not to be. May she rest in peace,” said Kevin Mortimer, principal investigator for Tupumue.

The disaster also claimed El Hassan Essayouti, a nuclear physics professor at University of Hassan II in Casablanca, Morocco.

The university’s Rachida Roky, a biology professor, told Moroccan news site Yabiladi on 11 March that the professor was “a very appreciated and loved colleague who was always available for his students”.

The International Livestock Research Institute based in Nairobi, Kenya, issued a statement two days after the crash, lamenting the loss of crop scientist Kodjo Glato.

Glato was “a fine young agricultural scientist from Togo”, the statement reads. He was on his way to Nairobi to attend a training course at the Biosciences eastern and central Africa (BecA)-ILRI Hub.

Staff at the Hub knew the biotechnologist and plant physiologist from the University of Lomé as a “hardworking, affable and dedicated young professional”, the statement says. “He was part of a new generation of scientists contributing to Togo’s agricultural development.”

Individual ILRI staff added personal messages of condolence.

“Kodjo Glato inspired many with his drive and tenacity. He was known to take on challenges with monumental zeal. His passion for the smallholder farmer will be badly missed. May he rest in peace,” said Jacob Mignouna, director of the BecA-ILRI Hub.

"It is always sad to lose a colleague suddenly. But to lose a colleague at the very start of his career, with so much left to contribute, is a tragedy," said Jimmy Smith, ILRI’s director-general.

In an article published earlier this week, Research Africa noted that two of the victims were academics from Kenyatta University in Nairobi. Isaac Mwangi and Agnes Gathumbi both worked at the School of Education. The fatalities also include Pius Adesanmi, a Nigerian-born professor with Carleton University in Ottawa, Canada, and Sebastiano Tusa, an Italian underwater archaeologist.

Many countries have grounded planes of the type 737 Max 8 involved in the disaster. Ethiopian Airlines and Boeing, manufacturer of the aircraft, are investigating the cause of the crash. 

A version of this article also appeared in Research Europe