On the occasion of World Humanitarian Day, on August 19, the United Nations paid tribute to humanitarian workers now battling the COVID-19 pandemic.
World Humanitarian Day is held on the anniversary of the August 19, 2003 attack on the UN compound in Baghdad which killed 22 people.
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said, “This year, humanitarian workers are stretched like never before … They are responding to the global crisis of COVID-19, and with it the massive increase in humanitarian needs from the fallout of the pandemic … They are the unsung heroes of the pandemic response – and they all too often risk their own lives to save the lives of others.”
The UN marked the day by remembering the 125 aid workers who were killed in 2019, and the hundreds of others who were wounded or kidnapped.
The year 2019 showcased as a year of greatest threat to humanitarian workers and the Aid Worker Security Database compiled by the Humanitarian Outcomes research group showed that major attacks against humanitarians in 2019 surpassed all previous years since records began in 1997.
The data base highlighted that in 277 separate incidents around the world, a total of 483 relief workers were attacked, of which 125 were killed, 234 wounded and 124 kidnapped. The figure represents an 18 percent increase in the number of victims compared to 2018. Most of the attacks occurred in Syria, followed by South Sudan, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Afghanistan and the Central African Republic.
The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs said, “The UN condemns these attacks, and it calls for accountability for perpetrators and justice for survivors. Relief workers cannot be a target.”
Photo Credit : https://www.un.org/en/observances/humanitarian-day