World Humanitarian Day: UN renews commitment to relief work

World Humanitarian Day is on August 19th. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has renewed the world body’s commitment to life-saving relief efforts, and called for honouring the “heroic aid workers”, who rush bravely to help people in need, and those who died doing so.

“On World Humanitarian Day, we remember their sacrifices, and we recognise the millions of people who count on humanitarian workers for their very survival,” Ban said in his message on World Humanitarian Day (WHD) being celebrated Tuesday under the theme this year of ‘The World Needs More’.


“Too many people have died or suffered from deliberate attacks. Humanitarian workers and their families are hit hardest by these crimes. But they are also felt by millions of others,” the UN chief said.

“Last year, more humanitarian workers were kidnapped, seriously injured or killed than ever before. This is an outrage”

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Noting that in recent weeks, dozens of humanitarian workers — including members of the UN family — have lost their lives in South Sudan and Gaza, the UN chief lambasted the attacks on such workers which, he said, hindered 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,” Ban stated.

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The World Humanitarian Day falls Aug 19, the day in 2003 when special representative of the secretary-general to Iraq, Sergio Vieira de Mello, and 21 aid workers were killed in the bombing of the UN headquarters in Baghdad.

World Humanitarian Day was commemorated for the first time Aug 19, 2009, after the UN General Assembly Dec 11, 2008, adopted Resolution A/63/L.49 on the “Strengthening of the Coordination of Emergency Assistance of the United Nations”. Subsequent years have focused on a particular theme.

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