Commemoration of World Humanitarian Day: Statement by Administrator Samantha Power – International
For immediate release
Friday, August 19, 2022
Today, on World Humanitarian Day, we celebrate brave aid workers around the world and give special recognition to our USAID team members who serve those most in need. . In 2003, after a suicide bomber attacked the United Nations headquarters in Baghdad, Iraq, killing 22 people and injuring more than 100 others, the United Nations designated August 19 as a day to honor service and sacrifice. aid workers, including those who face threats and violence, as well as those who have paid the ultimate price. Wherever natural disasters, violent conflict and other humanitarian crises tear societies apart and test the human spirit, aid workers are on the ground saving lives.
In 2022, as we witness an unprecedented level of need across the world, humanitarians sometimes offer the only lifeline to those who are suffering. In Ukraine, aid workers around the world are facilitating access to food, water and hygiene products for Ukrainians who continue to shelter as bombs target their homes and communities. Members of our disaster response team were among the very first to help those who were forced to flee their homes. As the Horn of Africa experiences its worst drought on record and dramatic levels of food insecurity, humanitarians rush to provide food and cash assistance, vaccinate millions and increase access to water drinking water and sanitation kits to stop waterborne diseases that often spread when freshwater sources dry up. In Yemen, where the world’s largest humanitarian crisis continues to unfold, brave and dedicated aid workers are providing lifesaving assistance to some 13 million Yemenis in need of food aid.
Even as these aid workers tackle the greatest threats facing humanity, they must contend with deteriorating security conditions and the ever-present risk of harm. Violent attacks, harassment, intimidation and threats have increased in recent years. In 2021 alone, 461 aid workers were victims of violence; this includes 141 aid workers who were killed while helping others, the highest number since 2013. Tragically, the vast majority of those at greatest risk to their lives are nationals of the country in which they work , sacrificing everything to support the people of their nation. In times of crisis, all countries have a responsibility to protect humanitarian workers so that life-saving aid can reach those who need it most. We call on governments, combatants, civilians and all those affected by crises and disasters to protect humanitarian personnel, wherever they work.
On this World Humanitarian Day, we pay tribute to aid workers who work tirelessly in the most difficult circumstances, and we pay special tribute to those who have sacrificed their lives in the line of duty. We recognize the tremendous service of USAID humanitarians and our many partners, and express our gratitude to all humanitarian workers around the world for their courage and dedication.