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World Humanitarian Day – 19th August

Each year humanitarian aid workers, operating in war zones, sites of natural disaster and other difficult and hostile environments put their lives on the line to help people in need in their darkest hour.

Tragically, in recent years more aid workers have been killed whilst striving to help others, so today we’re also paying tribute to those who risk their lives every day, or have died, while serving others.

Caritas India salute all the Humanitarian Aid Workers on this @dayhumanitarian @iamCARITAS #Caritas2Kerala pic.twitter.com/lcToVSzCuZ

— Caritas India (@Caritas_India) August 19, 2018

In 2017, 313 aid worker deaths were reported as a result of violence. 154 of these individuals worked for local or national organisations. When local staff working for international organisations are considered, this figure rises even higher.

As a member of Charter4Change, a group dedicated to promoting the growth and welfare of local organisations to respond to emergencies, we

  • Call upon all parties to conflicts to meet their obligations under international humanitarian law and ensure safe access to people in need of humanitarian assistance and protection, for all humanitarian and civil society personnel;
  • Appeal for continuous effort to strengthen, support and enforce all measures in relation to the protection of humanitarian and civil society actors;
  • Urge host governments to do more to guarantee that individuals or groups who attack or intimidate humanitarian actors are held to account for their actions; and
  • Appeal to donor governments to commit more resources to build the capacities of local and national actors who operate in high-risk and hostile environments.

Thanks to your generous support and prayers, and working as part of the global Caritas family, we’re responding to many of the worst humanitarian emergencies in the world today.

Rohingya refugee crisis
We’re working with Caritas Bangladesh to help Rohingya refugees who fled from persecution in Myanmar last year. By June 2018, Caritas Bangladesh has helped 63,000 families including 500 poor Bangladeshi families with support including food, shelter, pots, pans and cooking utensils, water and toilets.

Syrian war
Working closely with our sister agency in England and Wales, CAFOD, and a range of local partners in countries including Syria, Lebanon and Jordan, we’ve been able to help 135,970 since 2012. This has included providing shelters and rent to refugees, medical care, food, trauma counselling and help for refugee children to go to school.

East Africa
A range of crises have hit millions of people across east Africa including South Sudan, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Ethiopia. Poor rains between May to July and conflict in Ethiopia have left more than 7.8 million people in need of emergency food assistance. We’re working with sister agencies Trocaire and CAFOD, and local organisation in Ethiopia, to provide food, clean water and shelter.

Indian floods
Over 320 people have died and thousands left homeless following huge floods in southern India. We’re monitoring the situation and have already given £30,000 to help Caritas India provide emergency aid to survivors.

You can help people in need when disasters strike with our Emergency Response Fund: Donate Now.