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    140 Aid Workers Died in 2021, says OCHA

    Civil society140 Aid Workers Died in 2021, says OCHA
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    140 Aid Workers Died in 2021, says OCHA

    According to data from the non-governmental organization Humanitarian Outcomes, more than 140 aid workers were killed in the line of duty last year – the highest number of fatalities since 2013.

    To mark World Humanitarian Day, commemorated annually on 19 August, Martin Griffiths, the UN Emergency Relief Coordinator and Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs issued a statement on Friday paying tribute to “all humanitarian workers who often work in dangerous conditions to help others in need” while commemorating “those who have lost their lives in the line of duty”.

    In the lead-up to the day, the United Nations humanitarian agency (OCHA) has launched a week-long campaign to honour humanitarian workers under the theme “It takes a village,” which spotlights how aid workers come together in a collective effort to alleviate extreme need.

    “Just like the saying ‘It takes a village to raise a child,’ it takes a ‘village’ of humanitarians working with affected communities to bring help and hope to people caught up in crises,” said the OCHA chief.

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    “This year’s World Humanitarian Day builds on this metaphor of collective endeavour and asks people everywhere to show appreciation for humanitarian work, whoever carries it out”.

    The public are invited to follow the #ItTakesAVillage hashtag on social media, to share, like and comment on the posting, to show solidarity with people who need aid and appreciation for those who work to deliver it.

    The UN General Assembly designated the annual event in 2008 to commemorate the anniversary of the 2003 bombing of the UN headquarters in Baghdad, Iraq, which killed 22 aid workers.

    The day has evolved to highlight different aspects of humanitarian action and mobilize people globally to advocate for the broader humanitarian cause.

    140 aid workers killed in 2021

    According to data from the non-governmental organization Humanitarian Outcomes, more than 140 aid workers were killed in the line of duty last year – the highest number of fatalities since 2013.

    All but two of the aid workers who died were national staff, “highlighting the perils that national aid workers often face,” said OCHA spokesperson Jens Laerke, who added that another 203 aid workers were injured and 117 kidnapped last year.

    The OCHA spokesperson explained that “the most violent countries for aid workers continue to be South Sudan, followed by Afghanistan and Syria.” According to Humanitarian Outcomes, 168 aid workers have been attacked so far this year, leading to 44 fatalities.

    “Most of the over 140 fatalities in 2021 were killed by small weapons and shooting incidents, with the second highest cause of death being airstrikes and shelling, most of them in Syria,” Laerke said.

     

    Image: Alliah / UNICEF Chad

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