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On 19 August 2003, a bomb attack on the Canal Hotel in Baghdad, Iraq, killed 22 humanitarian aid workers, including the UN Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Iraq, Sergio Vieira de Mello. Five years later, the United Nations General Assembly adopted a resolution designating 19 August as World Humanitarian Day (WHD).
The 2022 Theme
Each year, WHD focuses on a theme, bringing together partners from across the humanitarian system to advocate for the survival, well-being, and dignity of people affected by crises and for the safety and security of aid workers.
The 2022 WHD campaign shines a light on the thousands of volunteers, professionals, and crisis-affected people who deliver urgent health care, shelter, food, protection, water, and much more.
For this year’s WHD, the UN will use digital art to tell the stories of people in need and those who help them. At the center of the campaign is a series of beautifully illustrated aid worker profiles that show the breadth and depth of humanitarian work and collectively symbolize the wider humanitarian village.
For this year’s WHD, the UN shows humanitarian work’s importance, effectiveness, and positive impact.
WHD is a campaign by the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).
Global Humanitarian Overview 2021
In 2021, 235 million people will need humanitarian assistance and protection. This number has risen to 1 in 33 people worldwide – a significant increase from 1 in 45 at the launch of the Global Humanitarian Overview 2020, which was already the highest figure in decades. The UN and partner organizations aim to assist 160 million people most in need across 56 countries and will require a total of $35 billion to do so.
Facts & Figures
- In 2021, 460 aid workers were attacked: 140 killed, 203 wounded, and 117 kidnapped.
- Of the aid workers who died, 98% were national staff, and 2% were international (expatriate) staff – more than half (53%) were staff of national NGOs.
- Most of the violence took place in South Sudan, Afghanistan and Syria.
- Casualties are expected to rise significantly in 2022 due to the war in Ukraine, where rocket attacks and shelling threaten civilians and aid providers equally.
- The 2021 Humanitarian Needs Overview estimated that 20.7 million (67% of the population) people need humanitarian assistance, 12.1 million of whom are estimated to be in acute need, which makes Yemen the largest humanitarian crisis in the world.
- Convention on the Safety of United Nations and Associated Personnel
- General Assembly resolution (A/RES/63/139) on Strengthening of the coordination of emergency humanitarian assistance of the United Nations (establishing World Humanitarian Day)
- General Assembly resolution on the Safety and security of humanitarian personnel and protection of United Nations personnel
- Report of the Secretary-General on the Safety and security of United Nations and associated personnel
- Human Security 2014-2017 Strategic Plan
- Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA)
- Delivering Humanitarian Aid
- Inter-Agency Standing Committee (IASC)
- UN World Food Programme (WFP)
- UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR)
- UN Children’s Agency (UNICEF)
- World Health Organization (WHO)
- Remember the Fallen
- News related to Humanitarian Aid