UNV saddened to confirm death of UNV volunteer in Haiti

Bonn, Germany: The United Nations Volunteers (UNV) programme is deeply saddened by the death of UNV volunteer Ms. Nivah Odwori, 36, of Kenya who died in the Haiti earthquake. Ms. Odwori was among the UNV volunteers whose details could not be confirmed after the earthquake struck.

Ms. Odwori had been working as a District Coordinator with the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH) since July 2009, where she was supporting the elections process.

She was previously a UNV volunteer District Electoral Adviser with the United Nations Mission in Nepal (UNMIN), and she also worked with the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), including serving as an adviser to its delegation to the 61st session of the UN General Assembly in 2006.

Both the UN Mission and UNV spoke with the family of Ms. Odwori to express condolences on behalf of the organization and noted that Ms. Odwori was a valued member of the UN Mission in Haiti.

UNV Executive Coordinator Ms. Flavia Pansieri said, "Nivah was a compassionate and talented individual who had chosen to apply her skills to the cause of peace and development, as a volunteer. She was highly motivated and enthusiastic and this is a great loss to the Mission, her family and her friends."

Ms. Odwori is survived by her mother, sisters and brothers. She was the sister-in-law of Kenya's Minister of Regional Development Authorities, the Hon. Fredrick Fidelis Gumo.

Ms. Odwori obtained a Masters degree in diplomacy and international relations at Seton Hall University in the United States of America, where she completed a thesis on conflict resolution challenges in Sudan and India.

She was one of 222 UNV volunteers serving in Haiti at the time of the earthquake on 12 January, including seven Kenyans. There are 206 UNV volunteers serving with MINUSTAH, and 16 with UNDP and partner UN agencies.

A total of 151 UNV volunteers have been accounted for and UNV is actively seeking confirmation of the others. Three have been evacuated for medical attention, and another is known to be injured. UNV is ascertaining the details of their conditions, and of any other injuries to UNV personnel.

There are also 56 Haitians serving as international UNV volunteers overseas, some of whom were in Haiti on leave. UNV is making every effort to account for each of those in Haiti and to help Haitian UNV volunteers to locate their family members. UNV is providing all its volunteers with support including counselling and medical assistance as needed.

UNV is participating in the UN's central emergency response process and is in continuous contact with the UN helpline. Relatives concerned about family members on UNV assignments in Haiti or on leave in the country should call the UN hotline: +1-212-963-4139.