Statement by the United Nations Humanitarian Coordinator in Sudan a.i., Mr. Mark Cutts (EN/AR)
Khartoum, 19 August 2012. Today is World Humanitarian Day. This is an opportunity for us to reflect on all those people in Sudan and around the world whose lives have been torn apart by war, drought, flooding, cyclones, earthquakes and other calamities. It is also a chance for us to recognize all those who work every day to help others, often risking their lives in some of the world’s most dangerous places. This year, as part of a global campaign, we are celebrating people helping people.
In Sudan there are four million people who still need our help. Many fled their homes as a result of fighting in places like Darfur, South Kordofan, Blue Nile and Abyei. Others lost their homes and livelihoods as a result of drought or other natural disasters. Recently in Sudan, floods have destroyed or damaged the homes of over 100,000 people.
To meet the needs of all these people, the United Nations and aid organizations have spent more than ten billion dollars in Sudan over the last decade. The aid operation in Sudan remains one of the biggest in the world. Every day, thousands of humanitarian workers – most of them Sudanese – provide food, shelter, clean water, healthcare and education to people less fortunate than themselves. They provide this aid to whoever needs it – regardless of race, religion and politics – inspired by a common sense of humanity.
These aid workers take huge risks and make great sacrifices to help others. Only one week ago a Sudanese official working for the World Food Programme was killed while working in South Kordofan. Before that, another aid worker – also Sudanese – was killed while clearing landmines in another part of the country. There was also a killing this week of a UNAMID peacekeeper who was working to protect displaced people in a camp in South Darfur. And more than 20 humanitarian workers have been kidnapped in Darfur since 2009.
But humanitarian work is not only done by those who work for national or international aid organizations. The biggest heroes of all are the Sudanese people themselves and the local communities who provide the bulk of all the assistance. Millions of Sudanese people have opened their doors in recent years to provide shelter and safety to people who have had to flee their own homes. And countless Sudanese officials in the Ministry of Health and other government departments work every day to help people in need. Many of them also take great risks and give their lives to help others.
Today is not only World Humanitarian Day, but also Eid-al-Fitr, the end of the holy month of Ramadan. On this occasion, let us put aside our differences and celebrate all those who work every day to help others, be they international aid workers, local communities or government officials. And let us honour all those, in different parts of the world, who have paid with their lives while working to help others.
For further information, please contact Damian Rance, Public Information Officer, UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs in Sudan (firstname.lastname@example.org / +249 912 392 562)