Let’s honor World Humanitarian Day on August 19, 2021 | Net Impact

Celebrating World Humanitarian Day

Celebrating World Humanitarian Day | Net Impact

World Humanitarian Day (WHD) falls on August 19, 2021, the eleventh year since it was first designated by the United Nations. This day is a worldwide observance to honor all healthcare and aid workers who risk their lives to assist people afflicted by dire circumstances such as disease, hunger, human atrocities, and natural disasters.

WHD was founded following the tragic bombing of Baghdad’s Canal Hotel in 2009, which ended the lives of 22 aid workers, including that of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Sergio Vieira de Mello. This commemoration reminds us of the heroism shown by thousands of frontline workers around the world every day and the impact they create in our society.

Who are these unsung heroes?

The aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic and the rise of climate-related disasters has given World Humanitarian Day added significance. Healthcare and emergency professionals have faced personal danger while healing and assisting those afflicted. Among their ranks are emergency workers, volunteers for the UN, the Red Cross, the Peace Corps and Doctors Without Borders, to name a few.

Why should we care?

Humanitarians are like human shields that defend and protect the vulnerable. They serve their society selflessly and put themselves in harm's way in times of natural disasters, war, and/or disease. 

World Humanitarian Day helps to raise awareness and remind society of the importance of humanitarian workers. We owe them support for the service they perform and the risks they undertake. They serve on our behalf and ask little in return.

Global humanitarian crises

In 2021, planet Earth is facing multiple crises stemming from climate disruption, food shortages, epidemics, fires, floods and political upheavals. UN projections indicate that by 2022, over 235 million people will require emergency assistance. There is a corresponding need for a new generation of humanitarian workers to address the following global needs in 2021 and beyond:

1.          Famine and starvation affecting 270 million due to pandemic-related shortages.

2.          Rising COVID-19 cases and a persistent shortfall in vaccine availability worldwide.

3.          Displacement affecting more than 50 million people due to climate and strife.

4.          Natural disasters affecting increasing segments of the world’s population.

5.          Little or no access to clean water and sanitary living conditions.

6.          Climate disruption resulting in devastating heat, hurricanes, floods and fires.

7.          Global recession continuing to isolate disadvantaged communities worldwide.

8.          Armed conflicts and oppressive regimes that threaten the health and lives of vulnerable communities in the Middle East, Africa and Latin America.

How can you get involved with World Humanitarian Day?

Begin by staying informed about the scale of the challenges. In the U.S. alone, 13 million children face hunger, rising sea levels, drought, fires, and super storms are displacing thousands, many endure poverty and homelessness, and the COVID-19 threat continues. These problems loom much larger across the globe.

Here are some ways to get involved:

1.          Spread the word in your family, school and community.

2.          Research some trouble spots in the world where crises are erupting.

3.          Find out how your city is responding to the pandemic or other challenges.

4.          Contact a volunteer agency and ask how you can help.

5.          Consider ways to donate to a humanitarian or charity organization.

6.          Join a community of like-minded individuals in a Net Impact Chapter.

World Humanitarian Day activities are about more than standing up and saluting. It reminds us to be inspired, to be committed and to rouse ourselves into action - not just for a day, but throughout the year.