World Humanitarian Day
19 August 2013
Today, on World Humanitarian Day, we remember all those affected by disasters and emergencies around the world.
Right now, millions of people are struggling to cope with disasters, both natural and human-caused. Some, like the war in Syria, have had a high profile in the UK media. Others, like the recent floods in Sudan and Pakistan, haven’t hit the headlines, but have still had a devastating effect on the lives of huge numbers of people.
Over the last twelve months, we have responded to emergencies all over the world:
Droughts: We are helping people recover from droughts or food crises in Kenya, Ethiopia, Tanzania, Uganda, South Sudan, Niger, Mali and Burkina Faso.
Floods: We are supporting people who were driven from their homes by floods in Pakistan, Mozambique, Sudan and the Philippines.
Conflict: We are working with refugees and others affected by war in Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, Turkey, Sudan, South Sudan, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Liberia and the Central African Republic.
Earthquake: In Haiti, we are continuing to support people whose lives were torn apart by the devastating earthquake of January 2010.
None of our work would be possible without your support. By joining our Emergency Response Team, you can ensure that we are always ready to respond as soon as an emergency strikes.
Courage of local aid workers
Today, we also celebrate the dedication and courage of the local aid workers, priests and volunteers we work with in poor countries.
Our prayers are particularly with our partners in Syria, who are risking their lives to deliver aid across the battle-lines, and with Father Elysee Guedjande, who was recently shot in the leg while carrying out his life-saving work in the Central African Republic. Despite the great dangers they face, their determination to help others is inspirational.
Because we work with local partners, we are able to reach areas that other aid agencies can’t, like remote parts of South Sudan. And because we’re part of Caritas International – the coalition of Catholic agencies around the world – we have partner agencies with local expertise in almost every country in the world. That means that we are able to reach the most vulnerable no matter where a disaster hits.
Local, grassroots organisations are often the first to respond to emergencies in poor countries. In our new policy report, Funding at the Sharp End, we argue that more needs to be done to ensure that they get the support they need.