World Humanitarian Day is an international day dedicated to recognize humanitarian personnel and those who have lost their lives working for humanitarian causes.
The World Humanitarian Day was first marked on August 19, 2009, with each year having a particular theme for the commemoration. In 2010, the theme of the year was “We are Humanitarian Workers”, while the 2011 campaign was “People Helping People”.
In the year 2020, when the entire world is busy fighting a deadly virus killing people, the focus has been on battling the coronavirus pandemic. For this year, the campaign #RealLifeHeroes celebrates people who are continuously giving up everything to fight for the cause of others.
It focuses on the cause that makes humanitarians serve and protect the lives of people despite all difficult situations including conflict, lack of access and risks linked to COVID-19.
These are but a few of the Humanitarian agencies operating around the world including Nigeria:
OCHA – Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
UNHCR – Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees
UNICEF– United Nations Children’s Fund
UNRWA– United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East
UNFPA – United Nations Population Fund
UNISDR – United Nations International Strategy for Disaster Reduction
ICRC– The International Committee of the Red Cross
IFRC – International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies
IOM – International Organization for Migration
GFDR – Global Forum for Disaster Reduction
CERF – United Nations Central Emergency Response Fund
WFP – World Food Programme.
CCFN– Catholic Caritas Foundation of Nigeria
MSF– Medecine sans frontier
Humanitarian Crisis is defined as a singular event or a series of events that are threatening in terms of health, safety or well-being of a community or large group of people. This can be as a result of epidemics, armed conflicts, natural disasters, famine and other major emergencies.
Regardless of the type of disaster, survivors are left in urgent need of life-saving assistance such as shelter, food, water and health care.
Humanitarian Crisis can cause profound changes on social and psychological aspects of individuals from direct exposure to violence, loss of family members, displacement, food scarcity, increased exposure to communicable diseases, reduced access to health services.
In many places, women (and men) are also at risk of sexual violence, which affects millions of people, destroying lives and families and damaging communities.
It is a medical emergency, the impact of which is compounded in many countries by a dire absence of health care services for the victims.
The people who deliver humanitarian care globally continue to be present in many of the places where displaced people begin, pursue and end their journeys. They do so to alleviate their immediate suffering, provide emergency care and restore dignity to people in need, regardless of their origins, their stories or their identities and also to bring to attention the conditions and issues that cause that suffering.
Under international humanitarian law, hospitals and civilians are protected in conflict zones. People seeking medical care, no matter who they are, cannot be military targets. And yet in war zones where four out of five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council are active, hospitals, clinics, doctors, nurses and patients continue to be targeted and killed.
The year 2020 will celebrate the eleventh year of the special celebration, paying homage to the heroes who have contributed and given up their lives in providing humanitarian aid to other communities of the world, sometimes even under the most extreme circumstances.