World Humanitarian Day 2012

Sunday 19th August 2012 is World Humanitarian Day - a global celebration of humanitarian aid work that joins the United Nations and over 500 national and international NGOs / charities.

The campaign is launched annually by the United Nations Secretary-General, with events held across the world. 

In the past decade, over 800 humanitarian workers have been killed, injured or kidnapped.  And every year, disasters cause immense suffering for millions of people – usually the world’s poorest, most marginalised and vulnerable individuals. 

ActionAid works in 43 countries around the world.  When disasters strike, we work with local partners and communities themselves to provide emergency relief within the first few critical days.  We also help people prepare for and cope with the impacts of disasters, and lobby authorities and governments to protect the rights of disaster and conflict-affected populations. 

We prioritise the poorest and most vulnerable because they are hardest hit by disasters and take longer to recover.  At the same time, those affected by disasters – particularly women - are often the first to help their own communities following a disaster, before even local partner organisations can arrive to offer assistance. 

It is this sense of solidarity with people who are suffering which motivates humanitarians at all levels – local communities, civil society bodies, and national and international non-governmental organisations – to do the work they do, often in extremely challenging circumstances,

says Bijay Kumar, Head of ActionAid’s Emergencies and Crises Team.

In this way, everyone can be a humanitarian - we all have an important role to play.

The vast majority of ActionAid’s humanitarian staff come from the countries in which they work, and are there for the long term. We believe that a rights-based, long-term approach is the best way to achieve real and sustainable change for people living in poverty.

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