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UNICEF Chief Condemns Attack On Qana, Lebanon

New York, Jul 31 2006 10:00AM

Reacting to an attack which killed over 50 people in Qana, Lebanon, this weekend, the head of the United Nations Children’s Fund has joined her voice to others condemning the incident and calling for an immediate cessation of hostilities as well as special measures to protect the youngest victims of the conflict. “We strongly condemn the continued targeting of civilians, particularly children,” said UNICEF Executive Director Ann M. Veneman in a statement released on Sunday. “We urge all parties to heed the call of Secretary-General Annan for an immediate cessation of hostilities.”

She said full access and safe conduct of humanitarian relief operations is essential to relocate the children, the wounded, the disabled, and the elderly who have not been able to escape the fighting in the worst war zones. It is also needed to re-supply hospitals and health centers, particularly in the South, with emergency medical relief items and fuel for generators “to avoid a complete breakdown of public health facilities caring for the thousands of wounded.”

In addition, access is essential to providing water and sanitation facilities, food, and other basic supplies to the tens of thousands of displaced who are seeking shelter in public buildings in the conflict zones, and to establishing an emergency communication system to vulnerable communities.

The UNICEF chief also voiced concern over demonstrations at UN premises in Beirut, which were set on fire this weekend before the incidents were contained. “UN humanitarian workers are providing assistance to those suffering in this conflict, especially the children,” said Ms. Veneman. “Their safety and security are of utmost importance.”

2006-07-31 00:00:00.000

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