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News note

UNICEF mourns loss of staff member in Kenya

© UNICEF Kenya/2006/Roger Pearson
Patrick Macharia during a recent visit to a refugee camp in Dadaab, Kenya.
NEW YORK/NAIROBI, 4 December 2006 – UNICEF expressed deep sorrow at the death of staff member Patrick Macharia on December 3rd in Kenya.  Mr. Macharia had worked for UNICEF for the past decade as a member of the Water and Sanitation team in Nairobi.

Mr. Macharia was killed on Sunday while working on the flood emergency that has crippled the Horn of Africa.  As part of an assessment mission to western Kenya, where heavy rains in the past week had caused the situation to deteriorate drastically, Mr. Macharia was killed when struck by a truck that had lost control.   Working as a project officer for UNICEF, Mr. Macharia knew how valuable images are, and lost his life in that pursuit. He had been photographing the rising flood water of the Nyando River.

Mr. Macharia began working for UNICEF as a consultant in the early 1990s before becoming a staff member in 1996, initially and for several years as an Emergency Officer working at refugee camps in Garissa and Turkana, Kenya.  He later joined the Water and Sanitation team in Nairobi.

“He was a strong character and aggressive in his work,” said Fredrick Donde, the Chief of the Water and Sanitation section for UNICEF’s Kenya office in Nairobi. “Water and sanitation has really lost a giant in the making. He was a unique character whose attributes will be difficult to replace. Despite all that, he has left behind many smiling faces of children who without his contribution would be in a different environment.”

A graduate of the University of Nairobi, Macharia is survived by his wife Alice Mumbi Macharia and three children, Stephne Macharia (11 years), Evelyn Wanjiru (ten years) and Marie Watiri (two years, eight months).

“I have lost a friend, a worker, a colleague, a companion and a truly UNICEF staff member with a heart for children,” Donde said.


For 60 years UNICEF has been the world’s leader for children, working on the ground in 156 countries and territories to help children survive and thrive, from early childhood through adolescence.  The world’s largest provider of vaccines for developing countries, UNICEF supports child health and nutrition, good water and sanitation, quality basic education for all boys and girls, and the protection of children from violence, exploitation, and AIDS.  UNICEF is funded entirely by the voluntary contributions of individuals, businesses, foundations and governments.

For further information, please contact:

Rafael Hermoso, UNICEF Media New York: Tel + 1 212 326 – 7516, rhermoso@unicef.org

Sara Cameron, UNICEF Media Kenya: Office Tel + 254-20-762-2977, Mobile + 254-722-585-262 , scameron@unicef.org




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