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2019 most violent year for aid workers, says UN

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The United Nations has declared 2019 as the most violent for aid workers. It said 483 of them were attacked, 125 killed, 234 wounded and 124 kidnapped in 277 separate incidents.

The Humanitarian Outcomes’ Aid Worker Security Database published by the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) and the World Health Organisation (WHO) submitted: “This is an 18 per cent increase in the number of victims compared to 2018.”

The global agency, yesterday, as part of activities to mark the World Humanitarian Day 2020 with the theme, “A tribute to aid workers on the front lines”, condemned the assaults.

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OCHA and WHO said amid a global pandemic, unprecedented needs and growing insecurity, charities and responders were delivering to the world’s most vulnerable people.

A statement issued by WHO stated: “Today (yesterday), World Humanitarian Day, the world honours all humanitarians – many working in their own communities – who are going to extraordinary lengths in extraordinary times to help women, men and children whose lives are upended by crises and the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The dedication, perseverance and self-sacrifice of these real-life heroes represent the best of humanity as they respond to the COVID-19 crisis and the massive increase in humanitarian needs it has triggered.”

It went on: “First responders are often people in need themselves – refugees, members of civil society organisations – and local health workers. They bring food, shelter, healthcare, protection and hope to others amid conflict, displacement, disaster and disease.

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“But humanitarian workers are being tested like never before, struggling with unprecedented movement restrictions and insufficient resources as needs are outpacing funds.

“And all too often, they risk their own lives to save the lives of others.”

In recent weeks, despicable attacks have killed aid workers in Niger and Cameroun, and since the onset of the pandemic, scores of health workers have come under attack across the world.

According to the statement, the occasion was the 11th in the series, designated by the UN General Assembly, to appreciate these kind-hearted and selfless individuals.

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