On August 4, 2006, 17 Action Against Hunger employees were killed in cold blood while assisting local populations in Sri Lanka—an unprecedented event in humanitarian affairs. The international community, colleague organizations, and humanitarians from around the world responded en masse at this outrage. Action Against Hunger would like to express its appreciation for all those who have sent condolences for the tragedy that befell 17 of our colleagues in August of 2006. We commemorate the fallen and include a selection of personal statements below.
ACF Team Members Killed in Sri Lanka
- G. Kavitha (Female, Age 27, Hygiene Promotion Officer)
- S. Ganesh (Male, Age 54, Driver )- Kavitha's father
- K. Kovarthani (Female, Age 28, Hygiene Promotion Officer)
- S. Romila (Female, Age 25, Hygiene Promotion Officer)
- V. Kokilavathani (Female, Age 29, Hygiene Promotion Officer)
- G. Sreethraran (Male, Age 36, Advanced Field-Officer)
- Primus Anandarajah (Male, Assistant Promotion Manager)
- Matahavarasa Ketheeswaran (Male, Age 36, Supervisor)
- M. Narmathan (Male, Age 24, Field officer)
- R. Arulraj (Male, Age 24, Field officer) (Started work at 17 at ACF due to poverty)
- P. Pratheeban (Male, Age 27, Field officer)
- M. Rishikeshan (Male, Age 28, Field officer)
- Kodeeswaran Y. Kodeeswaran (Male, Age 31, Field officer), is the brother of one of the five Trincomalee students shot dead near the beech by the SLA on 2 January 2006 while the students were just spending time together before leaving town to attend their University sessions
- Muraleetharan (Male, Age 35, Driver I.)
- K. Koneshwaran (Male, Age 24, Driver )
- Abdul Latif Mohamed Jauffer (Male, Age 31)
- A. Jaseelan (Male)
We are Thankful for your Support!
Dear all at Action Against Hunger, It is sad to learn of the death of distinguished men and women who have committed their lives to serve humanity. Condolences to your team and families. The safety of workers in all situations should be guaranteed by warring parties and it is legitimate that an explanation is given in this case by those concerned. I join you in calling upon warring parties in Sri Lanka, Lebanon, Sudan, and other parts of the world to guarantee safety of humanitarian workers, innocent civilians, women and children. May the souls of those who have died rest in peace and be a source of motivation and encouragement to colleagues who continue to serve humanity in difficult circumstances. Sincerely,
Gilbert Sendugwa, Kampala, Uganda
Dear Sir, As someone who has been associated with the development sector for the past 23 years, I know the dangers of relief workers especially in a war ravaged area. But my heart bled when I read the newspaper report of killing of 15 workers, who were relief workers. My heartfelt condolences to all the organisation personnel, and especially to the bereaved family members. With Regards,
Sundar A. Rodriguez, Madurai, India
I was listening to NPR this morning and was shocked to hear of the fifteen Paris based Action Against Hunger workers murdered in Sri Lanka. Wayde and I send our deepest sympathy to their colleagues, friends, family and those people for whom they were the only hope.
Bonnie Erickson & Wayde Harrison, USA
ACF has not been out of my thoughts since I first heard the utter tragedy. I feel intense anger and sorrow, and wish there was a real way in which to reach out. Thinking of the teams, the families, ACF and both of you in such a heartfelt way. With Love,
Beverly Dyer, Former E. Congo Expatriate, Canada
I saw the news this morning about the team in Sri Lanka. I wanted to send my deepest condolences. I'm completely shocked. I'm so sorry, I don't know what to say. All our thoughts are with the team.
Caitlin, Former S. Sudan Expatriate, USA
Dear Benoit, The staff and trustees of Africa Now would like formally to extend our sincere sympathy and express our sorrow at the terrible deaths of ACF's staff in Sri Lanka last weekend. We hope that you obtain a satisfactory inquiry into the events that led to this massacre, enabling your Muttur team to be laid to rest with justice done and hopefully some sense of resolution for their families in the longer term. Our thoughts are both with the victims, their families, and the ACF staff dealing with this tragedy. With best wishes,
Usha Kar, Africa Now, Oxford, UK
Greetings from Sri Lanka. I've been in Batticaloa for the past year. While I was in Batti I spent lots of time with the ACF staff. ACF has done excellent work in Batti, and I also presume the same holds true for other areas. All of us are in shock. I imagine these are difficult times for ACF. I personally hope ACF does not leave the country, as it would be a great loss for those genuinely in need of humanitarian assistance.
Mike Wolfe, USA
My colleagues and I at IRC wish to extend to you and your colleagues our deepest sympathy and concern following the deaths of your co-workers in Sri Lanka. This is an incident that is deeply concerning to us all and we feel a great sense of solidarity with all ACF staff. We hope and pray that their families and colleagues will be able to recover from this tragedy- one that we always know can happen, but one that we are never prepared for. Sincerely,
Rick Brennan, Health Unit Director, IRC, USA
I heard about the killing of ACF personnel in Sri Lanka. My condolences.
Naruth Phadungchai, Sustainable Livelihoods Officer, Goal, DRC
As I am in Uganda, on behalf of the staff here, we wish to express our condolences and shock as to what has happened to our colleagues in Sri Lanka. A message of sympathy goes out to all the families from us over here.
Uganda Team, Action Against Hunger USA
I am writing to express my sympathy over the loss of the ACF staff in Muttur, Trincomalee, Sri Lanka. I knew some of the workers who were killed this week and I just don't have the words to express how sorry I am for them, their families, your office in Trinco, the staff they worked with and the organization as as whole. I am just outraged that they were apparently targeted and the entire international humanitarian community there should be outraged as well. I was the Regional Program Manager for the USAID Office of Transition Initiatives in Trincomalee for two years, including the time during and after the tsunami. The whole time I was there, including the difficult time of the tsunami relief, we worked very closely with the ACF staff including Alessandra Radaelli, then Cyril Corre and Johann Pasquet and the Country Director Guillome. I was always so impressed with ACF's work, and particularly the relationship the international staff had with the local staff in that regional office. I know this must be incredibly difficult for them, and I am just so sorry. If ACF is doing anything for the families of the slain workers, and if they can accept donations, please do let me know.
Brenda Barrett, Former Regional Program Manager, DAI, Trincomalee, Sri Lanka.
La mission Burundi se joint aux témoignages de sympathie, partage la tristesse de tous et tient à apporter son soutien aux familles et à l'ensemble de l'équipe ACF au Sri Lanka. Nous voulons également vous faire partager le soutien que nous portent ici la communauté des ONG.
Toute l'équipe d'ACF Burundi.
We are extremely chocked and saddened to hear such terrible news. Our deepest sympathy to the families, and all our support to the team. Should you need some kind of support, please do not hesitate, we will do our best.
Anne-Sophie Fournier, Action Contre la Faim, Canada.
Dear Mr. Benoit Miribel, Having read about the death of ACF staff in Muttur, Sri Lanka, in fact an atrocity beyond imagination, I like to convey my sincere sympathy and condolences. We have worked for many years in closest cooperation with ACF staff, international and national, in Trincomalee district and in the areas of Muttur and Eachchilampattai in particular. We had joint workshops, shared knowledge and socialised. The cooperation between ACF and the German GTZ-at that time I was heading the Integrated Food Security Programme Trincomalee (IFSP),- was fruitful and an outstanding example for cooperation. Please convey my feelings to the families of the deceased women and men. Sincerely Yours,
Dr. Dedo Geinitz, UN Convention Against Corruption, Germany
Mes plus proffondes condoleances pour la mort des 15 de nos collegues. On est tous avec vous, avec ses familles et nos equipes dans ces momments.
Manuel Sanchez, Action Against Hunger, Spain
It is with immense sadness and a sense of deep shock that we learned about the loss of your colleagues in Sri Lanka over the weekend. Action Contre la Faim has teams working in Sri Lanka delivering much needed humanitarian assistance in this time of renewed fighting. There, as in many humanitarian crises around the world, ACF and MSF both operate in high risk contexts, and we wanted to share our distress at this loss. In the name of all Médecins Sans Frotières USA and our colleagues around the world, I would like to express our solidarity. Please convey our sincerest condolences to the family and friends of your colleagues, and know that you are in our thoughts during this difficult time.
Nicolas de Torrenté, Executive Director, MSF-USA.
All of us at Mercy Corps join you and Action Contre la Faim in mourning the loss of 15 of your team members in Muttur, Sri Lanka on August 6. Our thoughts and prayers are with the families and ACF's worldwide colleagues. We have been privileged and honored to work side by side with your team in Sri Lanka, and we hope to continue working within Sri Lanka to build a safer and more just society. This is, indeed, a somber time for those of us in the humanitarian community. Too many of our colleagues are being killed trying to save lives and bring hope to others. We honor their sacrifices by carrying on this vital mission. Yours in sympathy and support,
Neal Keny-Guyer, CEO, MercyCorps, USA
What an atrocity! When people who give their time for helping others to survive famine, are shot to death, this is the whole world which should react. We owe these outstanding people to react.
I have heard about the terrible, terrible situation in Sri Lanka and would like to express my sincere condolences. I believe that the team was from a different AAH, but I am sure that the effects of this event have been felt widely through the organization and the humanitarian community in general. It is surely a difficult and dispiriting time. Please accept my sympathies.
Elizabeth Rowley, Center for Refugee and Disaster Response, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, USA
I feel really sad due to the tragedy facing all of us in ACF.
Edgar Mena, Head of Project-Armenia, Accion Contra el Hambre, Spain
Former Program Administrator in Uganda, ACF-USA
This absolutely tragic and shocking. Please let us know what we can do for any of the victims families or any of the AAH Sri Lankan staff.
On behalf of our executive director, Rugh Messinger and everyone at American Jewish World Service, we would like to express our deepest condolences for the recent tragedy that struck the AAH family in Sri Lanka. AAH has shown bravery and courage in its work bringing food security to communities affected by war and disaster around the world. We can not even begin to comprehend your feelings of loss and horror following this heinous act in Muttur. Please pass our healing wishes to the entire AAH family, particularly the loved ones of the AAH team in Sri Lanka. We not only value our growing partnership with AAH, but our relationships with many individuals on your staff as well. Again our thoughts and best wishes are with you. Sincerely,
Matthew Emry, American Jewish World Service, USA
My sympathies regarding the recent loss of life in Sri Lanka.
Tom Corbett, Davis, CA, USA
What horrific news about your colleagues. All of you do such incredible work under the most difficult of situations but who could ever believe this could happen. You are in my thoughts and prayers -- let me know if I may be of assistance.
It is on very sad note that I have learnt about the death of 15 colleagues on their line of duty in Sri Lanka. I am deeply concerned because in the first place these fallen heroes have had nothing to do with the political or military differences the warring factions are trading about. May their souls rest in eternal peace, may this spark more zeal, energy and willingness to work for the benefit of those in dire need. This reminds us that our commitment to humanitarian work could yield higher fulfillment and a sense of satisfaction as we can measure the impact of our work right there and then. Even in circumstances where life is at the cost. We hear again that the HR Director for France is traveling to Colombo for this reason, what a mission!!! a selfless mission. Hoping him a safe and accomplished trip.
Samuel Magombo, AAH-Gulu
Dear Friends at ACF, Please accept my sincerest condolences for your grave loss in Sri Lanka. As a person deeply concerned for humanity and our future, I am profoundly affected by the loss of any life, and more regrettably that of a team of humanitarian workers putting their own well-being aside in their work to secure that of others. I appreciate the work that you do and hope that the families and colleagues of those lost know the enduring impact that those individuals made on the world, and how grateful we are for them. Gratitude does not compensate for the loss of life, specially when it is that of your cherished loved ones, but please know that the world is made a better place because of them, and that their example has touched the lives of many, both in the area of volunteerism and in the hearts of those reached by their aid and efforts. Such selflessness in the midst of personal peril and vulnerability is a call to all individuals to do their part in the betterment of their society. Such dedication is a moving inspiration, and a powerful catalyst for change in the world and for our goals towards a world home that is a peaceful habitat free of poverty and violence, and embracing of brotherhood and humanity. Thank you for your support for our world family. Best Wishes,
A Temp at the US Fund for UNICEF
I am devastated by the news of ACF staff killed in Sri Lanka...I am so sorry...and cannot wrap my head around the insanity of this all. This must be a very hard time for you all. Words seem so meaningless in a situation like this...my prayers are with you all.
Anuradha Mittal, Executive Director, The Oakland Institute, USA
Hi guys, hope you're ok. I was horrified to hear about what happened in Sri Lanka. It is terrible to contemplate. I wanted to send my condolences and support even though I don't know any of the team there. Take Care,
I pray this letter finds you in the best of health and well being. We were all very sorry to hear about the tragic deaths of the 17 aid workers of Action Contre la Faim at your Sri Lanka offices. We strongly condemn these unnecessary deaths. Our thoughts and sympathies are with the families and friends who have lost loved ones. We at Islamic Relief shall work towards a goal we believe you also share, to assist those in need and together I hope such incidents would further strengthen us to continue to strive in this cause. Once again please accept our heartiest condolences on the loss of your valuable staff. Yours sincerely,
Adil Al-Mahi, Country Director, Pakistan, Islamic Relief
We are so saddened by the loss of these 17 men and women in Sri Lanka! No words can be appropriate to express our sorrow and indeed our shock. We would like to convey our sincerest condolences to the families and friends of these heroes who worked with great dedication under such extraordinarily difficult circumstances and whose lives were so suddenly and so brutally taken away.
Colette and Achim Moeller, Moeller Projects