Author: Abhirami Rao
August 19 marks a special day in the United Nations’ calendar - World Humanitarian Day. It is dedicated to pay tribute to aid workers who risk their lives in humanitarian service. This day also serves as a space to rally support for people affected by crises around the world.
What is humanitarian service/aid? It is assistance extended to people who need help, either material or logistical, as a short-term measure. Among the people in need are the homeless, refugees, and victims of natural disasters, wars, and famines. They usually serve as the first line of aid until long-term help by the government and other institutions follow them.
Despite their mission to provide life-saving support with kindness, these heroes are often caught in the crossfires of disasters and wars. WHO reported 1,009 attacks against healthcare workers and facilities, resulting in 199 deaths and 628 injuries. In 2019, 483 aid workers were attacked, yet many more continued to step up to help, time after time.
How is this year different? This year August 19 flutters by as the world continues to fight the COVID-19 pandemic. Aid workers are overcoming unprecedented hurdles to assist people in humanitarian crises in 54 countries, as well as in a further nine countries which have been catapulted into humanitarian need by the COVID-19 pandemic.
World Humanitarian Day dons the cape of #RealLifeHeroes for 2020. A campaign that houses stories of heroes on the field, it focuses on what drives humanitarians to continue to save and protect lives despite conflict, insecurity, lack of access and risks linked to COVID-19.
Rain or shine, they are there to assist those in need. Here’s to heart-warming stories of hope and perseverance.
Join the conversation with #RealLifeHeroes. Tell us about your experience with these heroes in your own life!