World Humanitarian Day, celebrated on August 19, seeks to raise awareness around the important activity of humanitarian workers, as well as the dangers that they face.
This year's campaign featured the theme "The world needs more Humanitarian Heroes" and a call from popular personalities to show support for humanitarians by tweeting with the hashtags #humanitarianheroes and #theworldneedsmore. A new platform, Messengers of Humanity, was also launched to encourage individuals to become members of an online community where they can share images, important facts and figures, opportunities to get involved, and messages of hope.
The places where humanitarian need is greatest are often places where it is also most dangerous for aid agencies to work. In 2013, 155 aid workers were killed, 171 were seriously wounded and 134 were kidnapped- a 66% increase in the number of victims from 2012. The first half of 2014 has also seen a rise in the number of attacks, with 79 aid workers killed as of August 15. Today’s humanitarian heroes, mostly local and national staff and volunteers, suffer higher casualty rates than Western aid workers, and their deaths receive far less media attention.
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon stated that, "Attacks on humanitarian workers hinder the ability of people in desperate need to receive lifesaving assistance. Children go unvaccinated. Sick and wounded patients go untreated. Those forced from their homes are left without food, water or shelter – exposed to violence, disease or other threats."
Source: World Humanitarian Day
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