August 19- World Humanitarian Day

⏰ 2/5 Min


 On August 19, 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 August 19 as World Humanitarian Day (WHD).

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.

For this year’s WHD, we show humanitarian work’s importance, effectiveness, and positive impact.

WHD is a campaign by the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).

World Humanitarian Day 2023

This year, our World Humanitarian Day campaign brings together the global humanitarian community to mark the twentieth anniversary of the attack on the UN headquarters in Baghdad, Iraq, and to show our unwavering commitment to deliver for the communities we serve, no matter who, no matter where and #NoMatterWhat.

Humanitarians have no other purpose than to save and protect lives and deliver the basic necessities of life; they stand shoulder-to-shoulder with the communities they serve and bring hope.

On August 19, we come together to honor humanitarians around the world who strive to meet ever-growing global needs. No matter the danger or the hardship, humanitarians venture deep into disaster-stricken regions and, on the front lines of conflict, strive to save and protect people in need.

2023 Campaign: #NoMatterWhat

Humanitarians are united by a shared mission to save and protect lives. They will never compromise on humanitarian principles and always strive to make the best decisions for the people they serve. However, Humanitarian work is difficult and dangerous, but we don’t give up on our commitment to overcome the challenges and deliver life-saving assistance to people in need, #NoMatterWhat.

Our core principles are humanity, impartiality, neutrality, and independence. Join our campaign and learn more about these principles that guide their work.


Facts & Figures

  • In 2022, 444 aid workers were attacked: 116 killed, 143 were wounded, and 185 kidnapped.
  • Of the aid workers who died, 96% were national staff, and 4% were international (expatriate) staff – more than half (47%) were staff of national NGOs.
  • Most of the violence took place in South Sudan, Mali, and Myanmar.
  • Data for 2023 in the Aid Worker Security Database shows that South Sudan has been the most dangerous place for aid workers for several consecutive years. Sudan is a close second (as of August 17, 2013.
  • The 2023 Mid-Year Update of the Global Humanitarian Needs Overview estimated that 362 million people in the world need humanitarian assistance.

Statistics from Humanitarian Outcomes

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