World Humanitarian Day

Photo of a young boy resting on USAID humanitarian provisions
Every day, all throughout the year, USAID and its partners work to save lives, even in the most dangerous places around the world.
Photo credit: Morgana Wingard, USAID


This World Humanitarian Day, we recognize the tremendous service of all of our humanitarian heroes.

August 19 marks World Humanitarian Day, a time to recognize aid workers who sacrifice their lives to help people affected by global crises. Since the deaths of 22 UN and relief agency staff in a Baghdad bombing 15 years ago, each year we honor the brave women and men who risk everything to help people in need.

Saving lives is getting harder to do as crises and conflicts grow in complexity, strain scarce resources, and put aid workers in grave danger. An unprecedented 134 million people are in need across 40 countries, and more than 68 million people have been forcibly displaced by conflict and insecurity—the highest figure ever recorded. The violence that is driving many of these crises—including deliberate attacks on civilians and relief workers—is making it more dangerous to deliver assistance. In 2017, at least 313 aid workers were killed, injured, or kidnapped.

The United States has a long and distinguished history of helping people in need. In 2017, a record six USAID Disaster Assistance Response Teams (DARTs) were simultaneously deployed to respond to hurricanes in the Caribbean, the Mexico earthquake, and ongoing crises in Iraq, Nigeria, South Sudan, and Syria. Around the world, our disaster teams and our humanitarian partners are providing lifesaving food assistance, safe drinking water, shelter, medical care, critical relief supplies, and protection for vulnerable groups



This World Humanitarian Day, we'd like to introduce you to some of USAID's own dedicated humanitarians.

Photo Gallery

Saving Lives, Changing Lives: See where USAID's partners are working with us to respond to the world's worst crises.


For World Humanitarian Day, hear what USAID disaster experts had to say when asked: Why are you a humanitarian?

Last updated: August 03, 2018

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