Tributes paid to Irish UNHCR official who died in Kenyan hospital

Andy Needham
Andy Needham. Photo: Faceook/UNHCRinIraq

Tributes have been paid to Andreas Needham, an Irish communications official with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), who died unexpectedly in hospital in Kenya last Friday (11 August).

The 44-year-old’s death occurred suddenly and unexpectedly after undergoing a routine operation at the Aga Khan University Hospital in Nairobi

“His untimely death deprives the UNHCR of a powerful advocate for the rights of refugees.” – Statement from the National Union of Journalists

Andy’s former colleagues at the UNHCR paid tribute to him on Facebook.

“It is with the deepest sadness that we announce the passing of our colleague Andreas Needham, UNHCR Iraq’s Public Information/Communications Officer. Andy was passionate about refugees and displaced persons and was incredibly dedicated to his work. His experience at UNHCR spans across Somalia, Ethiopia, Jordan, Headquarters and Iraq working in the most complex emergencies. His sense of humour, team spirit and love of life rendered him a cherished friend and co-worker. His smile will live on with us. He will be truly missed.” – UNHCR via Facebook

Andy began his work with the UNHCR as an External Relations Officer at the world’s largest refugee camp, Dadaab, in Kenya in 2008.

He had previously worked with Bill O’Herlihy Communications, the FAI and as editor of the Garda Review.

Andy Needham
Andy Needham and colleagues. Photo: Twitter/ZiauddinY

In 2010 he joined the Somalia operation and he worked in the country during the 2011 famine, describing the situation as “one of the most complex and challenging” missions imaginable.