Cairo 19 August 2021: Cairo Tower lights up tonight on the World Humanitarian Day in an effort by the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) to mark the day in which a bomb attack on the Canal Hotel in Baghdad, Iraq, killed 22 humanitarian aid workers, including the UN Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Iraq, Sergio Vieira de Mello on 19 August 2003. Five years later, the General Assembly adopted a resolution designating 19 August as World Humanitarian Day (WHD).
Each year, WHD focuses on a theme, bringing together partners from across the humanitarian system to advocate for the survival, well-being and dignity of people affected by crises, and for the safety and security of aid workers. This year, we highlight the immediate human cost of the climate crisis by pressuring world leaders to take meaningful climate action for the world’s most vulnerable people.
Earlier this month, OCHA launched #TheHumanRace: a global challenge for climate action in solidarity with people who need it the most. The call to action is centered around calling for developed countries delivering on their decade-old pledge of $100 billion annually for climate mitigation and adaptation in developing countries.
“The climate emergency is wreaking havoc across the world at a scale that the humanitarian community and people on the front lines cannot manage, and the Arab World is no exception,” said Mohammed Zeid Khater, Head of OCHA’s Regional Office for the Middle East and North Africa. “In addition to the humanitarian crises resulting from the several conflicts in the region, serious water scarcity is facing countries like Iraq, Syria and Egypt among others. Lack of access to water threatens current levels of food insecurity and may to public health. Wild fires in Syria, Lebanon, Tunisia, Algeria and Morocco are resulting in deaths and injuries. In Yemen, bee keeping is seriously hit by climate change thus livelihoods. This is exactly what brings us to campaign for climate action,” he added.
The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies estimates that following climate-related disasters, the number of people in humanitarian need could double to over 200 million by 2050. People who live in conflict areas and are already vulnerable cannot easily deal with climate shocks. Around 90 per cent of refugees are from countries that are the most vulnerable and least ready to adapt to the impact of climate change. Conflict combined with the pandemic and the effects of climate change is severely affecting food systems worldwide and causing severe hunger and even famine conditions.
/#TheHumanRace is taking place with support from some of the biggest names in sports, and in partnership with other UN agencies, non-governmental organizations, the Red Cross Movement and climate activists.
Anyone can participate in #TheHumanRace campaign by: /#TheHumanRace challenge is hosted on sports platform Strava. Members of the public will be challenged to run, ride, swim, walk or do any activity of their choice for 100 minutes starting in the week of World Humanitarian Day (this week!) until 31 August. Here: https://www.strava.com/challenges/The-Human-Race People who don’t wish to take part physically can simply sign on to support /#TheHumanRace via the campaign microsite here: www.worlhumanitarianday.org
For More information:
Ghalia Seifo | Regional Public Information Officer | Middle East and North Africa | United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA)
Mobile: +1 (437)855-9000
- UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
- To learn more about OCHA's activities, please visit https://www.unocha.org/.