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Zardari appeals for global aid to rehabilitate internal refugees

United Nations, May 13 (ANI): Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari has sought global aid to rehabilitate hundreds of thousands of NWFP residents, who fled the region because of the Pakistani Army’s offensive against the Taliban.

“We’re appealing to the world, myself and the UN secretary general to draw attention on the human catastrophe that is taking place,” he told reporters after conferring with UN chief Ban Ki-moon.

“They civilians are losing their crops, they’re losing their earnings, their livelihood and their homes, so we want the world to help us,” The News quoted Zardari, as saying.

Ban, in his meeting with Zardari, expressed his ‘deep concern’ about the humanitarian situation in northwestern Pakistan where commandos are stepping up a punishing offensive against militants that has now displaced more than half a million people.

Since May 2, tens of thousands of terrified civilians have been streaming out of three battle-torn northwest districts each day.

According to the UN refugee agency, 501,496 stranded people have registered with authorities since May 2.

“I expressed my deep concern and I expect President Zardari to take all necessary care to protect the civilian population. The UN is ready to stand by to provide the necessary humanitarian assistance,” the UN Secretary General said.

Ban told reporters that he asked Zardari “to facilitate the smooth delivery of humanitarian assistance and the protection of humanitarian workers.” (ANI)

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