On August 19th, each year we celebrate World Humanitarian Day. The purpose of World Humanitarian Day is to raise awareness of the plight of civilians around the world who have become caught up in conflicts, and also honour and raise support for the humanitarian workers who risk, and sometimes lose, their lives to help.
Over 130 million people throughout the world are currently in crisis, either through war or natural disasters and are in need of humanitarian aid. As we know the whole world continues to fight with the COVID-19 pandemic and in around 54 countries aid workers are overcoming unprecedented access hurdles and problems to assist people in humanitarian crises and also further in about nine countries which have been driven into humanitarian need by the COVID-19 pandemic.
This is the eleventh World Humanitarian Day, designated by the UN General Assembly. It falls on the day of the attack on the UN compound in Baghdad on 19 August 2003, which claimed the lives of 22 people including the Secretary-General's Special Representative for Iraq, Sergio Vieira de Mello. Since then, nearly 5,000 humanitarians have been killed, wounded or abducted, and the 2010-2019 decade experienced a 117 per cent increase in attacks compared to 2000-2009.
Some Facts: 483 aid workers were attacked in 2019, 125 killed, 234 wounded and 124 kidnapped in a total of 277 separate incidents; Most of the attacks occurred in Syria followed by South Sudan, Democratic Republic of Congo, Afghanistan, Central African Republic (CAR), Yemen, and Mali; As per the WHO report, 1009 attacks were against healthcare workers and facilities, resulting in 199 deaths and 628 injuries and worldwide, 90 percent of attacks were on national staff.