New York, NY (BBN)- Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon Wednesday expressed “dismay” at the rising death toll from Tuesday’s suicide bombing of a hotel in north-west Pakistan, which killed two United Nations staff members, and repeated his strong condemnation of the terrorist attack.

According to media reports, as many as 18 people died in the truck bombing that destroyed the Pearl Continental Hotel in Peshawar, the capital of the troubled North West Frontier Province (NWFP), on Tuesday night.

In a statement issued by his spokesperson, Mr. Ban reiterated “his strong condemnation of this brutal act of terror against innocent people, many of whom were in Peshawar to carry out humanitarian work.”

Among the dead was Aleksandar Vorkapic, a Serb national who leaves behind a wife and three children, worked for the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).

Mr. Vorkapic, who was on his first emergency mission, “gave his life serving others,” said UNHCR chief António Guterres. “All of us at UNHCR are devastated by this tragedy and we convey our deepest condolences to his family in Belgrade.”

Also killed in the blast was the Chief of Education in Pakistan of the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF), Perseveranda So, from the Philippines, who had been with the agency since 1994.

Ms. So, known as Persy to her workmates, was in Peshawar, “a dangerous and difficult environment, helping implement programs to assist girls in gaining access to education they so desperately need,” said UNICEF Executive Director, Ann M. Veneman. “She will be greatly missed by her colleagues.”

BNN/SS/SI/AD-11June09-3:46 pm (BST)