Tribute to humanitarians who put their lives on the line to save others – World


Wherever natural disasters, violent conflict and other humanitarian crises tear societies apart and test the human spirit, aid workers are on the ground every hour of the day to save lives. Today, on World Humanitarian Day, USAID honors the brave humanitarian workers around the world who serve those in need.

Why we celebrate World Humanitarian Day

World Humanitarian Day began following the horrific August 19, 2003 bombing of the Canal Hotel which killed scores of UN colleagues and innocent Iraqi bystanders. Since then, it has become a day to recognize the enormous service rendered by humanitarians, who work tirelessly to save lives amid growing challenges and threats.

The challenges facing aid workers in 2022 are immense. Worsening crises have stretched global resources and strained the ability of dedicated humanitarians to respond to unprecedented needs around the world. From deadly conflicts like Russia’s unprovoked war in Ukraine to the worst drought on record in the Horn of Africa to the world’s largest humanitarian crisis in Yemen, a myriad of emergencies have upended the lives of hundreds millions of people around the world. Through it all, humanitarians are there to alleviate suffering and provide a lifeline.

But their work is not free. Aid workers face deteriorating security conditions and the ever-present risk of harm. Violent attacks, harassment, intimidation and threats by various parties to the conflict against humanitarians are increasing every year.

Last year, South Sudan was the most dangerous country for aid workers, followed by Afghanistan and Syria. Tragically, the vast majority of those at greatest risk to their lives are local nationals of the country in which they work, sacrificing everything to support their neighbours. Targeting aid workers, regardless of their nationality, is unacceptable.

Who we honor

In times of crisis, everyone bears the responsibility to protect aid workers so that life-saving aid can reach those who need it most. An African proverb says, “It takes a whole village to raise a child,” highlighting the collective efforts of many people needed to provide a safe and secure environment for children to grow and thrive.

Likewise, it takes a village to help people in crisis – with an entire humanitarian community made up of local volunteers, emergency services, non-governmental organisations, the Red Cross and the UN working closely together in the whole world.

Although the roles of humanitarians may be different, their impact is shared. From health worker to advocate, protection worker to leader, everyone plays a vital role in ensuring that help reaches those who need it most. We reached out to brave humanitarians — all USAID partners — working in some of the world’s most dangerous places. They told us what motivates them to be part of the global “village” that saves lives, day after day. Read their words:

Show gratitude to our USAID partners

At USAID, we couldn’t do what we do without our partners. On this World Humanitarian Day and every day, we remember those aid workers who work tirelessly under the most difficult circumstances and often sacrifice their own in the process. We recognize the tremendous service of USAID humanitarians and partners and stand in solidarity with all aid workers around the world who serve humanity and save lives.

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