World Humanitarian Day—A Date to Acknowledge the Commitment of Health Sector Workers

The Pan American Health Organization/World Health Organization (PAHO/WHO) joins the celebration of World Humanitarian Day to recognize the work done by humanitarian workers of all United Nations agencies, non-governmental organizations, national and local entities and, particularly, the communities that allow the development of a culture where humanitarian assistance can be provided.

PAHO/WHO, through its Department of Emergency Preparedness and Disaster Relief Coordination, will focus its technical cooperation in reducing the impact of emergencies in the public health, especially of the most vulnerable groups, supporting national disaster reduction programs, and strengthening its interaction with all sectors involved in emergencies.

In emergency situations, PAHO/WHO country staff provide technical advice to support the ministries of health in their humanitarian response efforts. When large-scale disasters strike, the Regional Health Response Team—comprised of public health professionals in different areas of expertise—is also activated and deployed to the field.

World Humanitarian Day, celebrated every year on August 19, honors the workers whose purpose in life is to help millions of people affected by natural disasters or armed conflicts around the world, particularly the most vulnerable populations. It was started 10 years ago when a United Nations building in Bagdad was bombed and 22 humanitarian workers were killed. Since then, communities and organizations worldwide have celebrated World Humanitarian Day with different celebrations and public acts to recognize the work of the people who risk their lives in order to help other people.

Turn words into aid

This year, the global celebration of this date aims to turn words into aid, and it is a continuation of last year’s campaign that brought together one billion people, through the web, in support of humanitarian causes. This year’s campaign aims to mobilize the world, through words, to help all the people who need help. The objective is that businesses, people and organizations choose words to complete the phrase “The World Needs More _____” and disseminate the message through social media.

The celebration of this day is an opportunity to recognize the need to respect and continue supporting the commitment of humanitarian workers who, under the principles of humanity, impartiality, neutrality and independence, support communities to rebuild their lives after disasters, to become more resilient to future crises.


More information on World Humanitarian Day

OCHA’s message on World Humanitarian Day

Campaign’s video

World Humanitarian Day 2013 Message