A survey released on the eve of World Humanitarian Day shows a dramatic increase in the number of attacks on civilian aid workers around the globe.
According to Humanitarian Outcomes, 460 aid workers were either killed, seriously injured or kidnapped last year, reflecting a 66 percent increase in violence against civilian aid operations since 2012. The figures made 2013 the most violent on record in terms of aid worker attacks.
The survey was released Monday, a day prior to the United Nations' World Humanitarian Day, which commemorates all those who've lost their lives in humanitarian service and celebrates those who continue global aid missions today. Each year, World Humanitarian Day falls on Aug. 19 -- the day when a bombing at the U.N. headquarters in Baghdad killed 22 aid workers in 2003.
This year, the United Nations is encouraging supporters to show their solidarity with aid workers through social media by using the #HumanitarianHeroes hashtag and standing "in support for those who risk their lives every day."
— Danny Glover (@mrdannyglover) August 19, 2014
— IRIN News (@irinnews) August 19, 2014
The latest figures from Humanitarian Outcomes show aid workers have been attacked in 30 countries around the world, but reflect especially high numbers in Afghanistan, Syria, South Sudan, Pakistan and Sudan. Conflict in Afghanistan resulted in 81 aid worker attacks in 2013, a figure nearly double that of the second-highest nation (Syria, with 43 attacks).
— World Food Programme (@WFP) August 19, 2014
— UN OCHA Asia Pacific (@OCHAAsiaPac) August 16, 2014
"Humanitarian workers and their families are hit hardest by these crimes," U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon states on the commemorative day's website. "But they are also felt by millions of others ... Let us honor the fallen by protecting those who carry on their work -- and supporting humanitarian relief operations worldwide."
— WFP USA (@WFPUSA) August 19, 2014
— GlobalFund4Children (@GFCnews) August 19, 2014
— World Food Programme (@WFP) August 15, 2014
To learn more about World Humanitarian Day, visit the United Nations' website.