On World Humanitarian Day, which is observed every year on August 19, the United Nations Humanitarian Coordinator for the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT), Lynn Hastings, expressed her gratitude and admiration for the humanitarian workers in Palestine who provide assistance to millions of people in need, despite the challenges and risks they face.
Hastings said in a statement that about 2.1 million people across Palestine need humanitarian assistance, mainly due to the Israeli occupation, movement restrictions, political divisions, and recurrent conflict. She said that thousands of humanitarian workers, including NGO staff, volunteers, municipal workers, doctors, nurses, and others, are involved in the effort to help them.
Hastings highlighted some of the examples of the humanitarian work that is being done in Palestine under the hashtag #NoMatterWhat. She said that humanitarian workers are committed to helping 1.6 million of the most vulnerable Palestinians by providing them with essential services such as trauma care, food, water, shelter, education, health, nutrition, and protection. She also said that humanitarian workers often put their own lives at risk while doing their work.
She mentioned that during operations and escalations, humanitarian workers ensure the provision of safe drinking water, extinguish fires, clear debris, remove unexploded ordnance, and treat the injured amid gunfire and bombing. She said that in the first seven months of 2023, 77 healthcare workers were injured and 30 ambulances damaged.
She also mentioned that in high-risk areas of the West Bank, humanitarian workers accompany farmers and herders to protect them and allow them to sustain their livelihoods and food security. She also said that in inclement weather, especially during heavy rains, humanitarian workers maintain drainage and electricity systems while most people seek shelter indoors.
Hastings concluded her statement by saying that despite these obstacles, humanitarian workers are dedicated to helping people in need in Palestine. She said that they deserve recognition and respect for their work. She also called for ensuring their safety and security and facilitating their access to those who need their assistance.
World Humanitarian Day is a day designated by the United Nations to honor the humanitarian workers who have lost their lives or been injured in the course of their work. It also aims to raise awareness and support for humanitarian action around the world. The date marks the anniversary of the 2003 bombing of the UN headquarters in Baghdad, Iraq, which killed 22 people.