World Humanitarian Day: World needs more humanitarian heroes, says World Vision

D192-0227-01Opinion

  • Globally, there are more than 60 million people in need of humanitarian aid around the world
  • Increased international cooperation to protect humanitarian workers at risk
  • European Union needs to better coordinate its humanitarian aid policy with other policies to ensure a rapid and effective response in conflict zone

Since 2008, World Vision together with the international community celebrates the World Humanitarian Day (WHD) on the day of 19th of August. This year, WHD represents a celebration of the challenging work of humanitarians worldwide and pays tribute to their courage, motivation and determination to help those in need.

Together with NGOs like World Vision, the European Commission and United Nations’ Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs are putting the spotlight on aid workers who risk their lives to provide help and assistance to millions of people whose lives have been torn apart by war or natural disasters. Humanitarian Heroes are needed more than ever.

With at least seven humanitarian crises unfolding as we speak, around the globe,  an estimated 60 million people are exposed to immense suffering. Usually the world’s poorest, most marginalized and vulnerable people, particularly children, suffer the most. Thousands of selfless aid workers are doing incredible work every day in response to such humanitarian disasters and we must celebrate those who risk their lives and work in the spirit of doing good for the communities they serve and often live in or live close to.

Lucy Amatikide Murunga, World Vision Kenya humanitarian worker is one of them: “The greatest challenge is having a first-hand encounter with so much suffering. The disturbing images we get to see of disaster-affected victims also continue to haunt me”, said Murunga.

“In the last year, we have been witnessing an alarming rise in the level of attacks, including against humanitarian workers who often take great risk to help communities in need and they deserve to be protected,” said World Vision Brussels and EU Representative Marius Wanders. “At the same time, for the first time ever, the UN has classified simultaneously four major humanitarian crises (Central African Republic, South Sudan, Syria and Iraq) as level 3, the most severe level. This unique situation stretches the capacity of the humanitarian sector to its very limits, not only in terms of financial or technical resources needed but especially in terms of human resources.”

The European Union has gone to a great extent in addressing these crises and the European Commission recently committed to allocate an additional 5 million to support operations in Gaza by key humanitarian partners. As one of the largest donors of humanitarian aid to the Palestinian population, the EU should insist that international humanitarian law is respected in the occupied Palestinian territories and to ensure the freedom of movement for people and goods, especially for aid agencies so that they can deliver relief in a timely and efficient manner to those most in need.

Humanitarians face the same risks as the local community they assist. In 2013 alone, 460 aid workers were affected by attacks and 34% of them were killed, according to the United Nations. For this reason, WHD is an opportunity to acknowledge the risks aid workers are exposed to, thank them for their heroism and to call for an increased international cooperation to protect communities from conflict zones, especially children and women, as well as world’ humanitarian heroes.

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Category: A Frontpage, Disasters, EU, EU, Human Rights, Humanitarian assistance, Humanitarian funding, Opinion

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