It takes a village
There is a saying that goes: It takes a village to raise a child. Similarly, it takes a village to support a person in a humanitarian crisis. With record-high humanitarian needs around the world, this year’s World Humanitarian Day (WHD) builds on this metaphor of collective endeavour to grow global appreciation of humanitarian work
Whenever and wherever people are in need, there are others who help them. They are the affected people themselves – always first to respond when disaster strikes – and a global community that supports them as they recover. Far from the spotlight and out of the headlines, they come together to ease suffering and bring hope.
On 19 August 2003, a bomb attack on the Canal Hotel in Baghdad, Iraq, killed 22 humanitarian aid workers, including the UN Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Iraq, Sergio Vieira de Mello. Five years later, the United Nations General Assembly adopted a resolution designating 19 August as World Humanitarian Day (WHD).
Each year, WHD focuses on a theme, bringing together partners from across the humanitarian system to advocate for the survival, well-being and dignity of people affected by crises, and for the safety and security of aid workers.
For this year’s WHD, we show the importance, effectiveness and positive impact of humanitarian work.
WHD is a campaign by the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).
- In 2021, 460 aid workers were attacked: 140 killed, 203 wounded and 117 kidnapped.
- Of the aid workers who died, 98% were national staff and 2% were international (expatriate) staff – more than half (53%) were staff of national NGOs.
- Most of the violence took place in South Sudan, Afghanistan and Syria.
- Casualties are expected to rise significantly in 2022 due to the war in Ukraine, where rocket attacks and shelling threaten civilians and aid providers equally.
- The 2021 Humanitarian Needs Overview estimated that 20.7 million (67% of the population) people need humanitarian assistance, 12.1 million of whom are estimated to be in acute need, which makes Yemen the largest humanitarian crisis in the world.
- Convention on the Safety of United Nations and Associated Personnel
- General Assembly resolution (A/RES/63/139) on Strengthening of the coordination of emergency humanitarian assistance of the United Nations (establishing World Humanitarian Day)
- General Assembly resolution on the Safety and security of humanitarian personnel and protection of United Nations personnel
- Report of the Secretary-General on the Safety and security of United Nations and associated personnel
- Human Security 2014-2017 Strategic Plan