August 19, World Humanitarian Day is a time set aside to recognize aid workers who have sacrificed their own lives to help people affected by global crises.
Since the deaths of 22 UN and relief agency workers in a Baghdad bombing 18 years ago, the world has honoured the brave men and women who risk everything to help people in need.
According to the United Nations, at least 475 aid workers were killed, injured, or kidnapped over the last year alone. A record 235 million people in 36 countries require humanitarian assistance in 2021.
Most of the violence took place in South Sudan, Syria, DRC, Mali and Central African Republic.
In many communities across the world, life-threatening crises are widespread, as climate change and COVID-19 pandemic intensify poverty, hunger and fan the flames of conflicts over scarce resources.
Despite these risks, aid workers continue to put their lives on the line to respond to crises worldwide, including climate-related disasters—such as cyclones and flash flooding—that are occurring with greater frequency and intensity.
The theme for World Humanitarian Day 2021 is, ‘#theHumanRace’. It will highlight the immediate consequences of the climate emergency for the world’s most vulnerable people and ensure that their voices are heard, and their needs top the agenda at the UN Climate Change Conference (COP26) in November.
United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs says that time is running out for millions of people who are already losing their lives, their homes and their livelihoods due to “extreme weather that is decimating communities across the globe.
Majority of those people live in some of the poorest countries in the world, which are the least to blame for the emissions of harmful greenhouse gasses that are driving climate change.
FACTS & FIGURES
In 2020, 475 aid workers were attacked: 108 killed, 242 wounded and 125 kidnapped.
In 2021, 235 million people will need humanitarian assistance and protection. This number has risen to 1 in 33 people worldwide
Most of the violence took place in South Sudan, Syria, and DRC. Other high incident contexts included Central African Republic and Mali, where incidents more than doubled since 2018.
Attacks against aid workers in Tigray of Ethiopia rose during 2020 and has been worsening further in 2021.
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