World Humanitarian Day
Today is World Humanitarian Day – The date of 19th August was chosen as it marks the anniversary of the bombing of the Canal Hotel in Baghdad, an event in which the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Sergio Vieira de Mellothe and twenty others lost their lives.
World Humanitarian Day was established in 2008 by the United Nations General Assembly and was first officially celebrated in 2009.
It is a day for the world to commemorate humanitarian workers killed and injured in the course of their work, and to honour all aid and health workers who continue, despite the odds, to provide life-saving support and protection to people most in need.
This year World Humanitarian Day takes place as the world continues to fight the COVID-19 pandemic, paying special tribute to the real-life heroes who have committed their lives to helping others in the most extreme circumstances throughout the world.
The campaign focuses on what drives humanitarians to continue to save and protect lives despite conflict, insecurity, lack of access and risks linked to COVID-19, including inspiring personal stories of humanitarians who are treating and preventing COVID-19, providing food to vulnerable people in need, providing safe spaces for women and girls in lockdown, delivering babies, fighting locusts and running refugee camps, all amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Aid workers are overcoming unprecedented situations to assist people in humanitarian crises in numerous countries, but this does not just include the COVID-19 pandemic.
The recent explosion in the Lebanese capital, Beirut shocked the world- leaving neighborhoods flattened, six hospitals have been damaged/destroyed, and hundreds of thousands of people have been made homeless – many of them children.
More than 200 people are believed to have been killed by the explosion and a number of people are still missing. UN agencies have warned of a humanitarian crisis unless food and medical aid are delivered immediately.
Sadly, there are many similar humanitarian crises that take place throughout the world- the work that humanitarians do on a daily basis to help and protect the lives of others is phenomenal, which is why World Humanitarian Day is so important. Organisations worldwide honour this day in a range of ways from fundraisers to lectures and other events all aimed at raising awareness.
We thank all humanitarians for the inspirational and life-saving work that they do.
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