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Ban condemns Peshawar terrorist attack

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has condemned the deadly terrorist attack on a hotel in Peshawar in which a staff member of the UNHCR was among those killed.

world Updated: Jun 10, 2009 07:15 IST

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has condemned the deadly terrorist attack on a hotel in Peshawar in which a staff member of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) was among those killed.

In a statement issued by his spokesperson, Ban said he is saddened by the large number of people killed and wounded in the attack on the Pearl Continental Hotel in Pakistan's Peshawar city.

He said that Aleksander Vorkapic, the UNHCR employee who died in the attack, was part of an emergency team recently sent to Pakistan to assist with the current displacement crisis in the nation's northwest region.

"Once again, a dedicated staff member of the United Nations is among the victims of a heinous terrorist attack which no cause can justify," the statement said.

At least 11 people were killed and 55, including foreigners, injured when the militants yesterday set off an explosive-laden vehicle on the hotel premises.

On the humanitarian front, UNHCR said that it continues to extend its shelters to accommodate the flood of displaced people in northwest Pakistan, while a growing number of pregnant women uprooted by the military offensive against militants in the region are seeking essential medical care.

Among the over 2 million people displaced by the conflict are an estimated 70,000 pregnant women, according to the UN Population Fund, with more than 250 giving birth every day and as many as 40 facing potentially life-threatening complications that call for skilled medical help.

A 19-year-old from Buner in North West Frontier Province (NWFP) last week became the first woman to give birth at one of five UNFPA-supported reproductive health clinics in camps for the displaced after walking 50 kilometres in two days to reach the Yar Hussein camp in Swabi district.

Other four clinics are also receiving a steady increase in patients.

Each site has a delivery room, a supply store and an outpatient clinic offering reproductive health care for women, as well as a full range of basic health services for the entire community.

With some 90 per cent of the displaced sheltering among host communities across NWFP, UNFPA has ordered obstetric equipment and reproductive health supplies for four local health facilities to help alleviate the strain.

"The trauma that women suffer when they are displaced greatly increases the risks of pregnancy and childbirth," warned Daniel B Baker, UNFPA Representative in Pakistan.

As part of the joint UN $ 543 million programme to support the displaced, launched on May 22, UNFPA has asked donors for $ 3.9 million to provide maternal, neonatal and child health care and psychosocial support for the next six months.

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