World Humanitarian Day is August 19, 2013.
Exactly 10 years ago, on August 19, 2003, a bomb exploded at the United Nations headquarters in Baghdad. Twenty-two people died that day and dozens more were injured—men and women who dedicated their lives to help and care for people affected by the war in Iraq.
A decade later, this tragic event has become a time for the international community to recognize the sacrifice of aid workers around the world who face danger and adversity to help others. On World Humanitarian Day, we pause to remember those who died, as well as celebrate the commitment and passion of those, who, at this very moment, are saving lives in some of the most dangerous regions around the world.
It’s a day to remember the doctors, nurses, and medical staff providing assistance on the frontlines of the conflict in Syria. It’s a day to remember our teams working in South Sudan’s Jonglei State, where violence has displaced approximately 100,000 people to remote areas where they lack the most basic necessities.
It’s a day to highlight the efforts of unsung heroes across the globe: our USAID colleagues, our dedicated partners, and the global community, who are tirelessly responding to crises that are growing in complexity and magnitude. For three consecutive years, annual economic losses from disasters have exceeded $100 billion, according to the U.N. And last year, the number of people displaced within their own countries by conflict and other violence skyrocketed to 28.8 million—the highest figure every recorded.
This World Humanitarian Day, the U.N. is kicking off a one-month campaign called The World Needs More to inspire governments, companies, and individuals to turn words into action and raise awareness of humanitarian needs around the world. It’s a global movement not only to mobilize critical resources for the millions affected by disasters around the world, but to remind us of what we can achieve by working together.