World Humanitarian Day is an observance created by the United Nations to honor 22 UN humanitarian workers who lost their lives in a bombing attack on the UN Headquarters in Baghdad. It was 20 years ago this year. In honor of the workers, the following paragraph is offered from UN.org:
“Whenever and wherever people are in need, there are others who help them. They are the affected people themselves – always first to respond when disaster strikes – and a global community that supports them as they recover. Far from the spotlight and out of the headlines, they come together to ease suffering and bring hope.”
Humanitarians are people who step up to save and protect lives and deliver the basic necessities of life, working alongside the communities they serve. We are watching a humanitarian crisis as we speak in Maui, and we’re deeply grateful to the people who have come to help, those who have donated food and supplies, all workers who come to the scene of the tragic disaster. The Maui fires took many lives, destroyed property and the historical evidence of the people who have lived in the area for years. It is devastating, and our hearts go out to all who have experienced such great loss.
While the UN isn’t involved in the Maui crisis, the men and women and young people volunteering and helping and searching there are doing humanitarian work. We do remember the devastating Haiti earthquake and the UN involvement there. This Maui fire seems equally as shocking and heart-wrenching as we read and watch the news.
Many of us can remember the bomb attack, 20 years ago, on the Canal Hotel in Baghdad. It was shocking news, a bomb destroying the UN Headquarters, taking the lives of the workers and killing the UN Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Iraq. When the World Humanitarian Day was established five years later the Resolution was written to give special recognition to all humanitarian workers, promoting humanitarian causes and working to give assistance when there is a crisis. The crisis in Iraq was due to war, and the UN system promised to, “…redouble its efforts to achieve peace, security and development while honoring the lives of those who perished and the thousands of other UN staff members who have given their lives while serving in the cause of peace.”
All we can do on this day, at this time, is think of Maui and express our gratitude to the people who have hurried to help.
The newspaper, Hawaii Civil Beat, we see the following, “Organizations across Hawaii are mobilizing to help fire victims after thousands were displaced on Maui.” The newspaper goes on to list 12 organizations including the Hawaii Community Foundation, Maui Food Bank, the Public Schools of Hawaii Foundation, the Council for Native Hawaiian Advancement, the Maui Humane Society and World Central Kitchen plus six more. Read the full article HERE.
These are the Humanitarians and we thank them and lift up their efforts to truly help on a commemorative day honoring them and their spirit.