World Humanitarian Day
On World Humanitarian Day (WHD) August 19, the world commemorates humanitarian workers killed and injured in the course of their work, and we honour all aid and health workers who continue, despite the odds, to provide life-saving support and protection to people most in need.
This year World Humanitarian Day comes as the world continues to fight the COVID-19 pandemic, which so far has killed and infected many, and with a sharp rise in caseloads in Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean over recent months. Aid workers are overcoming unprecedented access hurdles to assist people in humanitarian crises in 54 countries, as well as in a further nine countries which have been catapulted into humanitarian need by the COVID-19 pandemic.
This day was designated in memory of the 19 August 2003 bomb attack on the Canal Hotel in Baghdad, Iraq, killing 22 people, including the chief humanitarian in Iraq, Sergio Vieira de Mello. In 2009, the United Nations General Assembly formalized the day as World Humanitarian Day.
This is the eleventh year that we mark World Humanitarian Day. Since August 19, 2003, we remember all the humanitarians have been killed, injured, detained, kidnapped or otherwise prevented from carrying out their life-saving duties.