World Humanitarian Day [August 19]

By : Neha Dhyani

Updated : May 25, 2022, 6:45

The global climate disaster is causing destruction of a magnitude that individuals on the front lines as well as in the humanitarian sector are unable to cope with.

For such vulnerable areas of the world- and those that have contributed to the planetary climate disaster but have been affected the worst - including millions of those who are tragically losing their homes, jobs, and livelihoods, the time has been wearing out.

World Humanitarian Day is a worldwide call to climate change action in unity with those who are most in need.

World Humanitarian Day History

World Humanitarian Day was established to commemorate the bombing of the Canal Hotel in Baghdad, Iraq, on August 19, 2003, which killed 22 people, notably Iraq's chief humanitarian- Sergio Vieira de Mello. The General Assembly of the United Nations declared International Humanitarian Day in 2009.

Each year, World Humanitarian Day (WHD) features a different subject, drawing together allies from throughout the humanitarian network to campaign for the lives, well-being, and dignity of individuals affected by disasters and the security and safety of humanitarian groups.

The same causes that are causing historic highs of need are also making it more unsafe for relief workers to operate. In the last year alone, at least 475 humanitarian workers have been murdered, wounded, or abducted. Given these dangers, aid workers still continue to risk their lives to answer to crises around the world, especially climate-related catastrophes like cyclones and flash flooding, which are becoming more frequent and severe.

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World Humanitarian Day Objective and Focus

In 2021, the focus was on emphasising the climate catastrophe' direct human cost by compelling world authorities to take significant action against climate change for the vulnerable areas of people.

In 2021, a total of 235 million individuals in over 36 countries required humanitarian aid, which is a new milestone. Life-threatening situations have become increasingly complicated for many communities around the world as climatic changes and the COVID-19 outbreak worsen starvation, deepen deprivation, and stoke the fires of conflict over finite resources.

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World Humanitarian Day Commemoration

The Sergio Vieira de Mello Foundation is dedicated to collaborating with all government entities, the United Nations, different international organisations, and non-governmental organisations to make World Humanitarian Day a constructive event each year.

The United Nations Office directed towards the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs is a renowned initiative to organise and assist the commemoration of the Day, which will be observed globally by government entities, the United Nations, global humanitarian organisations, and non-governmental organisations (NGOs).

International Humanitarian Day is observed to honour relief workers who have been killed or wounded in their course of work and all relief and healthcare workers who, despite the challenges, continue to supply life-saving assistance and protection to those who are most in need.

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FAQs on World Humanitarian Day

Q1. What is the significance of World Humanitarian Day?

Each year on August 19, the globe commemorates World Humanitarian Day to encourage human welfare. World Humanitarian Day is commemorated in honour of those who have dedicated their lives to the betterment of others.

Q2. What was the theme of the 2021 International World Humanity Day?

In the year 2021, World Humanitarian Day emphasised the climate catastrophe' direct human cost by urging global leaders to take significant climate change action for the highly vulnerable areas.

Q3. Who is the founder of World Humanitarian Day?

The United Nations founded World Humanitarian Day to honour De Mello and other human rights advocates who have risked life and limb. In the year 2009, the United Nations General Assembly declared August 19 to be World Humanitarian Day.

Q4. What year did the first World Humanitarian Day take place?

The General Assembly of the United Nations declared the very first World Humanitarian Day in 2009. It pays tribute to brave humanitarians like Sérgio that work tirelessly each day to help the world become a better place for the poor and anyone whose houses and jobs are endangered by violence.

Q5. On World Humanitarian Day, what can we do to help or honour relief workers?

From August 16 to August 31, run, ride, swim, walk, or engage in any other activities for a total of 100 minutes in support of those who are vulnerable and to honour the relief workers on World Humanitarian Day.