World Humanitarian Day 19 August


On 11 December 2008 World Humanitarian Day was declared by the General Assembly of the United Nations (UN). The international community commemorates this day on 19 August every year. This date was chosen for a reason. That day in 2003 the UN Headquarters was blown up in the capital of Iraq, Bagdad. 22 staff members of the Organization, including the Secretary-General’s Special Representative of the UN in Iraq Sergio Vieira de Mello, died as a result of the attack of a suicide bomber.

Traditionally, many countries hold educational and informational events, forums and conferences in World Humanitarian Day. The main goal is to draw public attention to the activity of volunteers, to tell about the risks that they face in ensuring natural human rights and needs in different parts of the world. We should pay a debt of memory to those who sacrificed themselves for saving others, and also thank all people who continue to unselfishly help to their neighbors.

It is also a method to highlight the ever-growing need for the humanitarian support of population around the world and the importance of developing international cooperation in the sphere of its implementation.

Society has to have an objective understanding of the scale of humanitarian needs. Every year millions of people are victims of wars, natural disasters, epidemics and socio-economic upheavals. They don’t have basic necessities, i.e. nutrition, water, clothes, medical supplies, shelters. More than 90% of all humanitarian needs arise because of crises as a result of armed confrontations.

The following figures are especially revealing. The UN announced their intention to provide assistance to 109 million people in distress in 2020. In general, according to the UN, this year the number of people, who need in supporting and protection, may achieve the record of 168 million people (i.e. every forty-fifth inhabitant of the planet), including almost 60 million children.

At the same time, humanitarian practice shows that the community of volunteers responds to crises more qualitatively and promptly, and new members joined to the actions of assistance.