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Ban Ki-moon ‘deeply saddened’ by loss of life due to deadly Bangladeshi floods

Ban Ki-moon ‘deeply saddened’ by loss of life due to deadly Bangladeshi floods

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today expressed his deep sadness at the loss of more than 100 lives, the injuries sustained by over 100 people and the destruction caused by the landslide and flooding impacting Chittagong, Bangladesh’s second largest city.

Mr. Ban “extends his deepest condolences to the families of those who have been killed or injured in the disaster,” his spokesperson said in a statement.

He added that the UN “stands ready to assist as required.”

In another development, three UN agencies will assist in implementing a major five-year initiative to save lives and improve maternal and newborn health in Bangladesh.

With $31.2 million in funding from the United Kingdom and the European Commission, the programme, aimed at promoting a surge in use of quality health services, will be launched next month by the Bangladeshi Government, the UN Population Fund (UNFPA), the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the UN World Health Organization (WHO).

As many Bangladeshi women give birth without skilled assistance or access to lifesaving emergency care, maternal and neonatal deaths in the impoverished South Asian nation are high, estimated at 320 maternal deaths per 100,000 live births and 4,100 neonatal deaths per 100,000 live births.

The project – which follows the country’s health strategy as well as efforts to meet Goals 4 and 5 of the internationally agreed Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), which endeavour to reduce child mortality and improve maternal health – targets the improvement of community health practices and increasing the demand for public services, focusing on reaching the poor and excluded.

The initiative seeks to slash maternal deaths by 15 per cent and neonatal deaths by 25 per cent and save 885 mothers and 24,000 newborns during the project’s span.

Beginning in four districts and eventually growing to 20, the project will put into practice innovative means to tackle delays in seeking and receiving obstetric care which can have deadly consequences. Measures to be used include voucher programmes for poor families.