World Humanitarian Day

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2014 Aid Worker Attacks

Aid worker attacks dropped from 2013, but they're still the second highest on record. The reduction could be attributed to aid agencies reducing their presence in some countries due to violence.

329 Aid Workers

Killed, injured, Kidnapped

In 27 Countries

Most dangerous countries: Afghanistan, Syria, South Sudan


Most common Attack
*Source: The Aid Worker Database

Growing Needs

82.5 Million

people are in need of Humanitarian Assistance
*Source: UN DCHA State of Humanitarian Aid 2015

38 Million

people internally displaced by conflict as of January 2015 - the highest figure ever recorded.


Today marks World Humanitarian Day, a day to celebrate and pay tribute to aid workers who help the millions of people affected by humanitarian crises around the world. Designated by the United Nations General Assembly to remember the 22 UN and relief agency staff who lost their lives in a bombing in Baghdad 12 years ago, August 19 has become an occasion to honor the sacrifice of the brave men and women who have died serving others and commemorate the service of aid workers worldwide.

Saving lives is becoming more difficult in a world where crises are increasing in complexity and magnitude. The humanitarian system faces unprecedented strain, with four “Level 3” emergencies—the UN’s highest classification for a humanitarian crisis—in Syria, Iraq, South Sudan and Yemen. Violence and insecurity in these countries is causing massive internal and cross-border displacement, and aid workers are saving lives at great risk to their own. In just over a decade, the number of people in need of humanitarian aid has more than doubled.

In many parts of the world, protracted crises are the new normal. In Syria—the worst humanitarian emergency of our era—the crisis is in its fifth year with no end in sight. There, as in Iraq, ongoing violence is destroying communities and driving additional needs as more families than ever before continue to flee for safety. In addition, fighting rages on in South Sudan and Yemen where people are at risk of famine. Experts project up to 2.8 million South Sudanese could experience extreme, life-threatening hunger while ongoing violence in Yemen has left four out of every five Yemenis—or 21 million people—in need of urgent humanitarian aid.

USAID disaster experts are working with dedicated humanitarian partners around the world to overcome significant obstacles and navigate fluid frontlines to deliver much-needed food, clean water, medical care and critical relief supplies. USAID also remains committed to providing humanitarian assistance wherever our help is needed.

This year alone, USAID has had Disaster Assistance Response Teams (DARTs) responding to five major crises simultaneously—a record number for USAID. In West Africa, the DART is leading the U.S. response in the fight against the worst Ebola outbreak in history. Our work helped to stem the spread of the disease and avert a worst-case scenario by overseeing critical interventions across the region. Most recently, a DART deployed to Nepal following the massive magnitude 7.8 earthquake, and its urban search-and-rescue members helped pull people from the rubble and performed critical medical triage.

Crisis can bring out the best and worst in humanity, and helping people in need is a core value of the American people. This World Humanitarian Day, join us and our partners in sharing stories that illustrate this compassionate humanitarian spirit. Show your support by following and using #ShareHumanity on Twitter or visit To learn more about USAID’s humanitarian work follow @theOFDA on Twitter.

Christmas miracle: Baby Josephine was released as the youngest Ebola survivor from a USAID-supported Ebola treatment unit in Lib
Maya Baldouf, International Medical Corps

World Humanitarian Day: Protracted Mega-crises Require New Solutions to Save Lives

Impact Blog: Today’s mega-crises show no signs of subsiding. In just over a decade, the number of people in need of humanitarian aid has more than doubled. These unparalleled challenges require innovative solutions. USAID is prepared to show the humanitarian spirit is still very much alive. Read More.

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Last updated: August 19, 2015

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