UNITED NATIONS: A record 130 million people around the globe are now dependent on humanitarian assistance to survive, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has said, while calling on the world to unite to “leave no one behind.”
“Hidden behind the statistics are individuals, families and communities whose lives have been devastated,” the secretary-general said in a message to the World Humanitarian Day which was observed on Friday.
Ban urged the international community to raise money for the UN’s Central Emergency Response Fund to support individuals worldwide that are in need of help.
World Humanitarian Day is annually commemorated on Aug 19, a date that coincides with the anniversary of the 2003 bombing attack against UN headquarters in Baghdad, Iraq.
Also on Friday, a wreath-laying ceremony was held at UN headquarters to pay tribute to 22 UN staff members that were killed in the bombing attack and honor those who have lost their lives in humanitarian service.
This year under the world day’s theme of “one humanity,” the United Nations called for commitments to support people affected by crisis and ensure that aid workers can safely
and more effectively deliver to those in need.
“World Humanitarian Day is an annual reminder of the need to act to alleviate the suffering,” the secretary-general said in his message to mark the Day, which he said is also an occasion to honour the humanitarian workers and volunteers toiling on the frontlines of crises and pay tribute to these dedicated women and men who brave danger to help others at far greater risk.
Earlier this year, 9,000 participants gathered in Istanbul for the first-ever World Humanitarian Summit. World leaders committed to transform the lives of people living in conflict, disaster and acute vulnerability. They rallied behind the Agenda for Humanity and its pledge to leave no one behind.
At today’s annual memorial service in honour of fallen UN staff on the anniversary of the Canal Hotel bombing in Iraq, UN Deputy Secretary-General Jan Eliasson said that “those who attack the United Nations want to make us afraid, feel weak and to retreat” but “those we honour today inspire us to be bold and determined to go forward.”
“This challenge we meet all over the world today, from Syria to South Sudan, from Yemen to Libya, from Somalia to Afghanistan, where humanitarian workers and peacekeepers have lost or are risking their lives,” he said. -APP