24 Jul 2019

UN saddened by death of employee in Fiji

8:39 pm on 24 July 2019

The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) says it's saddened by the sudden death in Fiji of its employee Jennifer Downes, known professionally as Jenna Lusaka.

Police in Suva following the election

Photo: RNZ Pacific/ Koroi Hawkins

Police in Fiji said the Australian national was alleged to have been killed on Tuesday by her husband, Henry Lusaka, before he attempted to take his own life.

A police spokesperson said Mr Lusaka was in hospital and that police were waiting for his doctor's approval before questioning him.

In a statement, the WFP said Ms Downes worked as a logistics officer in the Pacific since 2017 and had previously worked in the Congo and Australia.

Ms Downes worked tirelessly to bring logistics tools and knowledge to communities in the Pacific islands, helping them prepare for and respond to natural disasters, the WFP said.

"For Jenna, logistics was more than just a job. It was a passion that she pursued with unmatched dedication and professionalism. She will be forever missed by our WFP family. Our thoughts are with Jenna's children and loved ones during this difficult time."

The ABC reported Australia's Department of Foreign Affairs was providing consular assistance to the family.

The couple had three children under five, but had recently separated, the ABC said.