By Mark Green
On August 19, we mark World Humanitarian Day, to recognize aid workers who sacrifice their lives to help people affected by global crises. Each year, since the deaths of 22 United Nations and relief agency staff in a bombing in Baghdad 16 years ago, we honor the brave women and men who risk everything to help people in need. In disaster and conflict zones around the world, attacks
on aid workers and civilians are making it more dangerous to deliver assistance. Last year, at least 405 aid workers were killed, injured, or kidnapped. Despite these challenges, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and our partners are not deterred.
It seems fitting that I spend this World Humanitarian Day in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), which is suffering from the world's second largest Ebola outbreak in history, in large part, due to insecurity in the Ebola-affected regions of Eastern DRC. I have come to the DRC to affirm the United States' commitment in this time of need, and to work with the Government of DRC to find opportunities so that humanitarian actors can operate more safely and efficiently with the communities affected by this crisis.
In addition to the Ebola crisis, USAID responded to 73 disasters in 65 countries last year, and helped tens of millions of people, including Venezuelans throughout Latin America and the Caribbean who fled the man-made crisis in their country.
This year, USAID had a record six Disaster-Assistance Response Teams deployed simultaneously for the fourth consecutive year. Every day, USAID's disaster teams and humanitarian partners put their lives on the line in the world's most-dangerous places-including Syria, South Sudan, and Afghanistan-to provide food, water, shelter, medical care, critical relief supplies, and protection for vulnerable groups.
As the world's largest humanitarian donor, the United States is proud to support the brave work of aid workers across the globe, as they save lives and alleviate suffering.
This World Humanitarian Day, we recognize the tremendous service of our humanitarian heroes.Distributed by APO Group on behalf of U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID).