A member of Action Against Hunger's emergency team in South Sudan.

World Humanitarian Day 2021: Honoring Aid Workers Everywhere

When a crisis hits, humanitarians are there to help. From Haiti to Ethiopia to Madagascar, aid workers are on the front lines of natural disasters and man-made emergencies providing lifesaving support to communities in desperate need.

That’s why, every year on August 19, the international community recognizes World Humanitarian Day  —a day to celebrate the hard work of aid workers everywhere, to remember the friends and colleagues we have lost, to advocate for stronger protections and better, safer access to people in need, and to demand accountability and justice for violations of international humanitarian law.

WATCH: WHATEVER IT TAKES TO SAVE LIVES

Conflict and climate crises in South Sudan have left millions of people in need. In the last year, extreme flooding has cut entire communities off from food, water, and health care. But the high waters have not stopped Action Against Hunger’s team from getting malnourished children the care they need.

We are the only organization in South Sudan’s remote area of Paguir providing medical assistance, but for some in this vast region, getting to our Stabilization Center is still a long and challenging journey. A mother may not be able to make the difficult trip to our clinic, where her child could receive lifesaving treatment. That’s why, now, our outreach team goes to them to ensure that no child is left behind.

Meet our outreach team >>

TAKE ACTION: THANK A HUMANITARIAN

An Action Against Hunger aid worker measures a child for malnutrition.

Photo: Stéphane Rakotomalala
for Action Against Hunger,
Madagascar

On World Humanitarian Day, we honor selfless aid workers who step up to help others. In communities across the globe, they sacrifice so much to save lives and to ease the suffering of people facing unthinkable circumstances. We’re so grateful for the dedication of aid workers – and especially proud of our 8,000+ staff at Action Against Hunger.

Join us in thanking aid workers for their hard work: Sign our card today.   

STAND UP: PROTECT AID WORKERS

Action Against Hunger staff in South Sudan advocate for protections for aid workers.

Photo: Lys Arango
for Action Against Hunger,
South Sudan

In some of the world’s worst conflicts — including South Sudan, Somalia, Democratic Republic of Congo, Yemen, Syria, and Afghanistan — aid workers cannot safely reach the communities most in need of assistance, which is a violation of international humanitarian law. Many aid workers, civilians, and protected spaces like hospitals, displacement camps, and schools have been targeted in attacks.

According to the Aid Worker Security Database, in 2020 alone:

  • 276 major incidents of violence against humanitarian operations were documented last year in 41 countries.
  • 475 aid workers were victims of some type of attack: 108 were killed, 242 wounded, and 125 kidnapped.
  • National aid workers – people who provide critical humanitarian assistance in the countries where they’re from – are the most frequent victims of attacks. In fact, last year, 95 percent of the aid workers attacked were national aid workers.

Humanitarian actors cannot end conflict, but they are a lifeline for the civilian men, women, and children who suffer its consequences. Aid workers put their lives on the line to deliver lifesaving food, water, medicines, and more to populations affected by armed violence. We urge all parties to conflict to uphold international humanitarian law and to demand justice when it is violated. The international community can and must do more to protect aid workers and civilians.

Action Against Hunger is leading a global movement to end hunger in our lifetimes. It innovates solutions, advocate for change, and reach 25 million people every year with proven hunger prevention and treatment programs. As a nonprofit that works across 50 countries, its 8,300 dedicated staff members partner with communities to address the root causes of hunger, including climate change, conflict, inequity, and emergencies. It strives to create a world free from hunger, for everyone, for good.