World Humanitarian Day

News in Brief 19 August 2020

  • Libya: Rights chief Bachelet appoints independent investigators
  • Bosnia and Herzegovina should recognise sex crime survivors’ rights
  • Ordinary people are the real-life humanitarian heroes: Guterres
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South Sudan’s humanitarian challenges intensified by COVID-19 

August 19th marks World Humanitarian Day, a day to commemorate humanitarian workers worldwide, who dedicate themselves to protecting and saving the lives of millions around the globe.  

2020 has been a particularly challenging year, as a result of the restrictions brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. 

In this interview, we hear from Meshak Malo, a humanitarian worker with the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) who’s in South Sudan.  

He spoke to FAO’s Charlotta Lomas about the challenges faced by the country, and what inspires him to go the work each day.  

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UN salutes real-life heroes doing ‘extraordinary things, in extraordinary times’

Marking World Humanitarian Day, top UN officials are honouring the workers overcoming “huge challenges” to save and improve the lives of millions of women, men and children, hit hard by crises and the COVID-19 pandemic. 

DR Congo’s ‘huge humanitarian crisis’ must not be forgotten

With around 15 million people in need of assistance, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) is one of the biggest humanitarian crises in the world; it is also one of the most underfunded.

In an interview with UN News’s Daniel Johnson for World Humanitarian Day on Wednesday, veteran UN aid coordinator Diego Zorrilla explains what’s most important for Congolese communities today.

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Real Life Heroes: Building trust and saving lives

Marie-Roseline Bélizaire, a doctor and epidemiologist with the World Health Organization (WHO), is using her passion for community medicine to help reduce the spread of COVID-19 in the Central African Republic (CAR).

Real Life Heroes: The Syrian film-maker cleaning COVID wards in the UK

Hassan Akkad, an award-winning Syrian film-maker, fled the war in his country four years ago and now lives as a refugee in the United Kingdom. Following the outbreak of COVID-19, he decided to help those affected by the pandemic, by becoming a cleaner at a London hospital.

Real Life Heroes: ‘A simple word can mean a lot to a refugee’

After leaving Gaza as a refugee, Shadi Mohammedali decided to dedicate himself to helping others in a similar situation. Today, he is working for an NGO in a Greek camp for asylum seekers, explaining how they can protect themselves from COVID-19.

Real Life Heroes: On a journey towards quality healthcare

In the remote Lamu region, on the northeast coast of Kenya, quality healthcare is hard to come by. Every month, medical staff from Safari Doctors, an NGO founded by Umra Omar, set sail on a boat filled with medicines, to provide free basic medicines to hundreds of marginalized inhabitants in several coastal villages.

Real Life Heroes: heading into disaster, in the service of others

Growing up in Indonesia in the shadow of an active volcano, Agus Haryono has witnessed the deadly risks of living in a disaster-prone region. This prompted him to join the country’s Search and Rescue Agency, in the hope of saving lives, when disaster strikes.

From horror in Iraq to a new dawn in Switzerland, how one Yazidi survivor picked up the pieces

Adiba Qasim is an inspiration.  After fleeing an ISIL terrorist massacre in northern Iraq that claimed dozens of family members in 2014, at just 19 years old, she became a humanitarian worker to help other women who’d endured unimaginable horrors at their hands. Today, Adiba is in Switzerland, where she’s studying hard to become a lawyer – and where she spoke to UN News’s Daniel Johnson at an event to celebrate World Humanitarian Day.

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