World Humanitarian Day honours those who risk helping others

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Althei Abbakar, 7, is attended by a medical assistant in a mobile clinic established by local non-governmental organization, Anhar, for displaced civilians on the outskirts of El Sereif, North Darfur. Credit: UN Photo/Albert González Farran

Attacks on humanitarian workers who are helping the people in need around the world are an outrage.

That's what UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon says in his message on World Humanitarian Day observed on 19 August each year.

The day also marks the anniversary of the terrorist bombing of Canal Hotel in Baghdad, which served as the UN headquarters in Iraq in 2003.

The attack claimed the lives of 22 people including the top UN envoy in the country at the time, Sergio Vieira de Mello.

On World Humanitarian Day, the Secretary-General calls for honouring the fallen by protecting those who carry on their work and supporting humanitarian relief operations worldwide.

"On World Humanitarian Day, we renew our commitment to life-saving relief efforts — and we remember all those who died serving this noble cause. Last year, more humanitarian workers were kidnapped, seriously injured or killed than ever before. This is an outrage. In recent weeks, dozens of humanitarians — including members of the UN family — have lost their lives in South Sudan and Gaza." (28")

The Secretary-General says that humanitarian workers and their families are hit hardest by these crimes which are also felt by millions of others.

Attacks on humanitarian workers hinder the ability of people in desperate need to receive lifesaving assistance, the Secretary-General adds.

He points out that children go unvaccinated, sick and wounded patients go untreated and those forced from their homes are left without food, water or shelter, exposed to violence, disease or other threats.

Jocelyne Sambira, United Nations.

Duration: 1’37″

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