Today is World Humanitarian Day, a day to commemorate the fallen relief workers who died in the 2003 bombing of the UN headquarters in Baghdad, as well as the thousands of others who have given their lives to help those in need. Last year marked the most violent year for aid organizations in the past decade: 155 relief staff were killed, 168 were injured, and 132 were kidnapped. This is always a sobering day, but is all the more so this year as we mourn the six aid workers just recently murdered in South Sudan and the many health care staff in West Africa who have sacrificed their lives treating those with Ebola.
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As another Atlantic hurricane season approaches, we are reminded that it takes just one bad storm to wreak havoc, kill and injure thousands, and inflict billions of dollars in damage.
A powerful magnitude 8.2 earthquake struck near the northern coast of Chile on April 1, prompting a tsunami and a series of strong aftershocks. Yet, nearly 1 million people were safely evacuated from harm’s way thanks to Chile’s disaster response preparations and early detection of the tsunami.