For Immediate Release
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The United Nations has designated August 19, 2009, as the first annual World Humanitarian Day in honor of those who devote their lives to helping others and in remembrance of those who have lost their lives while doing so. Around the world, humanitarian workers, including thousands of U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) staff, work in dangerous, challenging places to bring a better life to millions, even as their efforts continue to be limited by increasingly frequent and targeted attacks on humanitarian staff.
Today, we remember the 91 USAID employees and countless colleagues from the international community who have made the ultimate sacrifice pursuing the promise of a better world. They are the model that we, and future generations of humanitarians, should look to for inspiration.
Due largely to the selfless dedication of aid workers past and present, the humanitarian community's ability to respond to crises has improved markedly, but humanitarian needs continue to grow. Long-term conflicts are exacting an unconscionable toll on civilians. Natural disasters are becoming increasingly severe and frequent. And the combined effects of the food crisis, chronic poverty, population growth, and urbanization now present us with new and unknown challenges. On this World Humanitarian Day, USAID reiterates its commitment to work in close partnership with the international community to extend a hand to help those who are struggling to make a better life or recover from a crisis.
USAID is the U.S. Government's lead agency for providing assistance to people in need. To date in fiscal year 2009, USAID has responded to 46 disasters affecting populations in 38 countries. For more information on USAID's humanitarian assistance programs, please visit http://transition.usaid.gov/our_work/humanitarian_assistance/ .
The U.S. Agency for International Development has provided economic and humanitarian assistance worldwide for more than 40 years.
Last updated: June 12, 2012