World Humanitarian Day 2018

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Health Assured team

24 July 2018

On 19th August 2018, the world celebrates World Humanitarian Day (WHD). The purpose of the campaign is to raise awareness of the plight of innocent civilians around the world who have become caught up in conflicts. The awareness day was established to also pay tribute and raise support for the humanitarian workers who risk and sometimes lose, their lives to help people in need.

Over 130 million people throughout the world are currently in crisis, either through war or natural disasters and are in need of humanitarian aid.

WHD History

World Humanitarian Day was founded in 2008 by the United Nations General Assembly. The date of 19th August was selected as it marks the anniversary of the bombing of the Canal Hotel in Baghdad, an event in which the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Sergio Vieira de Mellothe and twenty others lost their lives.

Since the inception of WHD, organisations from across the globe have continued to honour the awareness day in a range of ways including volunteering, fundraisers and lectures.


In 2017, humanitarian partners from around the world came together and created the campaign #NotATarget. The reasoning behind the movement was due to the amount of health and aid workers becoming increasingly targeted during conflicts.

In countries during times of conflict, people are becoming trapped in warzones, children are being taken out of schools, families are being removed from their homes and millions of civilians being forced to hide or run for their lives. The #NotATarget campaign’s aim is to shed light on the conditions that the aid workers actively put themselves in, to help save lives.

Did you know?

  • The global spend on international humanitarian aid in 2015 was $28 billion– 21% of the estimated $131.6 billion spent by governments on official development assistance.
  • In 2015, more than 76 million people from 31 countriesneeded humanitarian assistance. 
  • An estimated 65.3 million people fled their homes because of conflict in 2015, this is more than any time since the Second World War.
  • Half of those affected by crisis are involved in smaller-scale events that generate few international headlines.
  • TheUN has appealed for help meeting the needs of more than 95 million people across 40 countries in 2016, the highest number ever requiring humanitarian assistance in a single year.
  • Approximately one sixth of the UK government’s direct overseas development spending is used on humanitarian aid.

What can I do?

WHD is a day for individuals from all around the world to come together and take action. You can help create a safer and more humane world for the communities affected by crisis and the people who devote their lives to helping them. Here are a few ways you can get involved:

  • Research and educate yourself about the Agenda for Humanity and the five core responsibilities.
  • Use the #NotATarget hashtag on social media to help advocate for World Humanitarian Day.
  • Make a donation to an OCHA-managed humanitarian fund by clicking here.
  • Donate clothes, tinned foods and children’s toys to families stricken by conflict through various cahrities.

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