September 23, 2013

Victims in Kenya mall attack came from all over the world

By 
Danica Kirka / The Associated Press

LONDON — The attack on the upscale Westgate Mall in Kenya's capital has killed dozens of people, including Africans, Europeans, Asians and North Americans. Here are details about some of the victims.

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Ross Langdon of Australia and his partner, Elif Yavuz of the Netherlands, were identified as two as the victims of the terrorist attack on Kenya's shopping mall on Saturday by Regional Associates, an architecture and research consultancy. Yavuz was pregnant with the couple's first child.

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AUSTRALIA

Ross Langdon was an architect who worked in Uganda, Rwanda and Tanzania, creating eco-lodges and socially sustainable tourism in ecologically sensitive locations.

He was born in Tasmania, he said at a conference in Krakow last year, and his experiences living off the land as a child persuaded him it was better to try to adapt to one's environment than to attempt to change it – to express sensitivity and respect for the tradition of the communities in which he was working.

"I thought it might be better to be like a chameleon – able to adapt and change and blend with our environment rather than conquer it," he said.

The firm he co-founded, Regional Associates, an architecture and research consultancy, issued a statement expressing grief.

"Ross was living his dream, greatly contributing to the lives of people within highly disadvantaged communities and supporting habitat conservation for some of the world's most threatened species," the organization said on its website.

The consultancy has offices in London, Australia, and Uganda. British media widely reported that Langdon was a dual national, though the Foreign Office did not identify British victims by name.

THE NETHERLANDS

Langdon's partner, Elif Yavuz, 33, was expecting their first child in early October.

A 2013 graduate of Harvard University's Department of Global Health and Population, she had completed her dissertation research on malaria in eastern Africa and was working with the Clinton Health Access Initiative, the university said in a note to faculty, staff and students.

Yavuz was listed as a co-author on at least one academic malaria study, including one led by Harvard in 2009 in Uganda, examining whether people with malaria stuck to their treatment. She was also listed as a contributing author in a letter to the medical journal Lancet last year that argued the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria should use more innovative strategies in public health.

PERU

Juan Ortiz-Iruri was a retired tropical disease specialist for UNICEF who had lived for 25 years in Africa, according to UNICEF and Peruvian Foreign Ministry spokesman Alejandro Neyra.
His son Ricardo Ortiz told Radio RPP that he entered the mall accompanied by his daughter, a 13-year-old born in the U.S.

"The version from my sister is that sadly my father fell to the floor and showed no signs of life," Ortiz said. He said his sister suffered a hand injury, but is out of danger.

Ortiz-Iruri had worked in Kenya, Malawi, Zimbabwe and Liberia.

GHANA

Kofi Awoonor, a Ghanaian poet, professor and former ambassador to Brazil, Cuba and the United Nations, died after being wounded in the attack, Ghana's presidential office confirmed. Ghana's ministry of information said Awoonor's son was injured and is responding to treatment.

Awoonor's work drew its inspiration from the traditions of his native Ewe tribe. Ghana's poetry foundation said on its website that Awoonor went into exile after Ghana's first president, Kwame Nkrumah, was driven out in a coup in 1966. He studied at the State University of New York at Stony Brook and his dissertation was later published as "The Breast of the Earth: A survey of the History Culture and Literature of Africa South of the Sahara" (1975). He returned to Ghana in 1975 and was later jailed for alleged involvement coup plot. His time in prison was recounted in "The House by the Sea (1978)," the foundation said.

KENYA

Ruhila Adatia-Sood, whose husband worked for the U.S. Agency for International Development in Nairobi, was killed, the organization said in a press statement. She was a popular radio and TV personality in Kenya and tributes poured in for her on Twitter and Facebook. She was expecting a child.

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