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Press centre


Statement of UNICEF Executive Director Ann M. Veneman

NEW YORK, 30 July 2006 – The attacks today in Qana are dramatic evidence that children are once again paying the price of war.

We strongly condemn the continued targeting of civilians, particularly children. We urge all parties to heed the call of Secretary-General Annan for an immediate cessation of hostilities.  We urgently need the establishment of clear arrangements for full access and safe conduct of humanitarian relief operations 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.  
• 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.  
• Provide 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.
• Establish an emergency communication system to vulnerable communities allowing us to address acute needs urgently where and when they arise.
We are also deeply concerned by today's demonstrations at UN premises in Beirut which caused significant damage to the offices and forced UN employees to take refuge.  UN humanitarian workers are providing assistance to those suffering in this conflict, especially the children.  Their safety and security are of utmost importance.

For background information:

Press reports indicate the killing of an estimated 60 people in Qana today. 

The Government of Lebanon estimates that 600 people have been killed and more than 3,000 injured in Lebanon alone.  While the situation is changing daily, UNICEF believes that more than one-third are children.

An estimated 800,000 people are reportedly internally displaced, with an estimated 119,625 people living in 652 schools and public gardens in and around Beirut.   An estimated 45 per cent of the internally displaced are children.

For further information, please contact: 

Jehane Sedky-Lavandero, UNICEF New York: (+1 212) 326 7261; jsedky@unicef.org
Anis Salem, UNICEF Amman: (+962) 79 557 9991 email; asalem@unicef.org
Wolfgang Friedl, UNICEF Amman: (+962) 6 553 9977 ext 422; wfriedl@unicef.org
Soha Boustani, UNICEF Beirut (+961) 1 978 620; sboustani@unicef.org
Patrick McCormick, UNICEF Geneva: (+41 22) 909 5604; pmccormick@unicef.org









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