Today is the World Humanitarian Day and we commemorate the humanitarian workers killed and injured in the course of their work, and we honour all aid and health workers who continue, despite the odds, to provide life-saving support and protection to people most in need.
IOM's Director General António Vitorino's speech
World Humanitarian Day falls during unprecedented times, a year during which humanitarian crises around the world are exacerbated by a global pandemic further complicating the work being done by humanitarians in perilous situations. IOM honours the thousands of men and women on the front lines of humanitarian relief, who have dedicated their lives to protect and serve other, often at personal cost to their health and safety. They are the Real-Life Heroes rising to meet extreme challenges engaging in extraordinary acts of humanity.
Last year, our humanitarian teams reached more than 28 million people living in crisis situations around the globe. This year, the numbers of people in need of life-saving assistance has grown. More people have been displaced within the confines of their own countries than any other time in history.
Millions are now confronted with the COVID-19 crisis while the threat of disasters provoked by a changing climate intensifies. We are equipping our staff to respond to these increasingly complex and protracted circumstances. Thousands of them hail from crisis-affected communities. Like the people they serve, they too have been uprooted from their homes, are mourning the loss of loved ones or have been affected in other ways by disasters, displacement, and conflict.
While caring for their own needs and those of their families, they continue to work for the betterment of others with great empathy and commitment. They are the health workers treating COVID-19 patients. They are the counsellors offering mental health support to communities living under conflict. They are the hygiene promoters educating people about water, sanitation and hygiene practices, and they are the migrants lending a helping hand to others along arduous journeys.
Join me, as we pay tribute to the courage, dedication and determination of our Real-Life Heroes who provide relief to millions around the world. They are truly inspiring, truly exceptional. We are proud to know them; we are proud to work with them.
Follow the discussion and share your thoughts on social media by using #WorldHumanitarianDay and #RealLifeHeroes! You can find more information on World Humanitarian Day on IOM's website dedicated to the day. Watch Director General Mr. Vitorino's speech here. You can also check United Nations' World Humanitarian Day website.