On World Humanitarian Day (this Tuesday), UNICEF said that the increase in humanitarian crises must not be allowed to decrease our common sense of humanity.
The international children’s organisation has called for greater protection for the aid workers who risk their lives responding to emergencies like those in Gaza, South Sudan, Iraq and the Ebola outbreak in West Africa.
UNICEF Ireland has also asked the public to think of the Irish heroes who dedicate their lives, often in dangerous circumstances, to work for world’s most vulnerable children.
“Brave aid workers endure harsh conditions and risk harm to save lives, rebuild communities, and bear witness in conflicts, catastrophes, and crises. As emergencies from South Sudan to Gaza have increased in both frequency and complexity, so too has the dangerous nature of the work and the loss of life,” said Peter Power, executive director, UNICEF Ireland.
In the last month alone:
* Humanitarian workers have been killed by armed fighters in South Sudan, while supporting the mission to reach 50,000 malnourished children before it is too late.
* Aid workers in Gaza have lost their lives in shelling attacks while providing critical care to the sick, the wounded, and the dying, and comforting families of the dead.
* Health workers in Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea who are trying desperately to save lives in the Ebola epidemic have succumbed to the deadly virus themselves. Others have been threatened with bodily harm for trying to stop the spread of the disease.
These recent attacks on humanitarian workers follow the worst year on record for the number of casualties in 2013 and earlier this year, an attack on a restaurant in Afghanistan killed four aid workers, including two UNICEF nutrition and health colleagues. On World Humanitarian Day, UNICEF mourns their deaths and marks their sacrifice.
Peter Power said, “The loss of even a single humanitarian aid worker is a loss to the entire community – and the world. On World Humanitarian Day, we are taking the opportunity to celebrate the heroes from Ireland that work for UNICEF.”