World Humanitarian Day
Sir, – Today marks World Humanitarian Day, a time to remember and honour humanitarian workers who lost their lives or were injured in the course of their work, and those who continue to provide life-saving support and protection to people and communities in crisis in increasingly challenging times also deserve recognition.
The UN reports that in 2019 alone, 483 aid workers were attacked – 125 were killed, 234 wounded and 124 kidnapped in 277 separate incidents.
We at Oxfam sadly lost two colleagues in February of this year when their vehicle was attacked by an armed group in southern Syria. Wissam Hazim and Adel Al-Halabi had their lives cut short as they worked to deliver aid to civilians caught in the Syrian conflict.
It is essential that humanitarian workers are able to deliver life-saving assistance without fear of being attacked themselves. Real-life heroes, including countless unsung community members and workers at the forefront of the pandemic response, who choose to continue to help those most in need, despite the odds.
Today, everyone at Oxfam pays tribute to humanitarians across the world, including our staff and partners at the frontline, whose lifesaving work has become even more challenging and complex in the times of Covid-19. We also take this moment to pause and acknowledge the pain and loss felt by the families, friends, and colleagues of those who lost their lives while striving to assist the most vulnerable. – Yours, etc,