The second World Humanitarian Day takes place this year on 19 August to honour and celebrate the work of humanitarian workers. The 19 of August has been chosen by the United Nations to commemorate the work of humanitarian workers as it marks the day when 22 employees of the UN, including the UN Special Representative Sergio Vieira de Mello, were killed in a bomb attack in 2003 in Baghdad.
This year focus will be on the actual work and achievements of humanitarian workers in the field. This year’s theme is “We are humanitarian workers”. It will be as well the occasion to remember and honour those who have lost their lives while helping others. A total of 102 humanitarian workers died in the exercise of their functions in 2009.
A communiqué released by the Sergio Vieira de Mello Foundation, which is leader for the celebrations of this year in Geneva, states ”Humanitarian workers are forgotten heroes, heroes without whom there wouldn’t be any humanitarian assistance. Not only do they work in the worst places of the world, in extreme temperatures (high frost, extremely hot countries), threatened by diseases but in dangerous places as well where they risk their lives to help the destitute, the victims of wars or natural catastrophes, whatever their race, nationality, religious or political beliefs – with total neutrality. This year the Day will be commemorated everywhere in the world and more specifically in Geneva, capital of humanitarian assistance”.
UNITAR and its Operational Satellite Applications Programme (UNOSAT) are pleased to join and support these celebrations which underscore the efforts and dedication of our experts and analysts who have supported over 200 humanitarian relief operations so far anywhere in the world. According to Francesco Pisano, Manager of UNOSAT, “our greatest success is the gradual integration of dedicated satellite imagery analysis in the work of the humanitarian community. Each operation we run puts us in touch with humanitarian colleagues in remote disaster and crisis sites. They tell us how useful and appreciated our work is. Each time we take pride in what we do for them and we are conscious of how we are contributing to developing better assistance for those in greater need worldwide”.