ROME -- UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon came to WFP headquarters to pay a personal tribute to the service and sacrifice of the five WFP staffers killed by the October 5 bomb blast at WFP headquarters in Islamabad.
Speaking to assembled staff members following a day at the World Summit on Food Security, Ban said he was saddened and outraged by the senselessness of the attack.
Later, he stood in silence for a moment in front of the marble plaques bearing the names of Botan Ahmed Ali Al-Hayawi, Farzana Barkat, Abid Rehman, Gul Rukh Tahir and Mohammad Wahab.
“I wanted to thank you, personally, for the work you do and your extraordinary dedication to the world’s people. When disaster strikes … when famine darkens the land …you are there, always...” he said. “The World Food Programme does more than feeding people, it gives them hope.”
Ban said when people saw the WFP banner on trucks or flying at feeding centres, they knew the world was there for them.
WFP Executive Director Josette Sheeran stressed staff members’ determination to continue operations and to rise to the challenge of providing food and hope to the one billion hungry people in the world today.
8.8 million beneficiaries
WFP is currently providing food assistance to 8.8 million people in Pakistan, including 2.6 million internally displaced people. Many are fleeing ongoing fighting in South Waziristan.
“It was the worst attack on WFP in our history but also the worst attack on humanitarian workers, those whose only aim is to serve the most vulnerable without fear or favour and whose only protection is the goodwill of the world,” she said.
Two UN staff members from Pakistan, Muhammad Tariq and Rashida Amir also paid tribute to their colleagues, and Pakistan’s Permanent Representative to the UN in Rome, Tasnim Aslam, also spoke at the ceremony.