Statement attributable to the United Nations Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator in Sudan, Mr. Ali Al-Za’tari, on World Humanitarian day [EN/AR]

from UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator for the Sudan
Published on 18 Aug 2013

Khartoum, 18 August 2013. World Humanitarian Day is a day for us all to spare a thought for people affected by war, drought, flood and other natural or manmade catastrophes. It is also a chance for us to recognize and appreciate humanitarian aid workers who often risk their lives to help affected people in some of the world’s most dangerous places. This year, as part of a global campaign, we are creating a market place of words that describe what the world needs more of. Personally, I believe that the world needs more HUMANITY. For example, when women, children and other vulnerable civilians through no fault of their own find themselves in war-zones, efforts must be made unquestioningly by all those in positions of power to ensure that they're protected and assisted.

You will each have your own views about what you think the world needs more of, and I welcome hearing them.

In Sudan nearly four and a half million people still need humanitarian help. Many people have had to flee their homes as a result of war and internal fighting in Darfur, South and North Kordofan, Blue Nile and Abyei. Others have lost their property and their jobs as a result. Recently, floods and severe weather conditions have affected nearly 150,000 people in several parts of Sudan.

To meet the needs of all these people, the United Nations and humanitarian aid organizations have mobilized and spent more than ten and a half billion dollars in Sudan over the last decade. The aid operation in Sudan is still one of the biggest in the world. Hundreds of humanitarian aid workers in Sudan – most of them Sudanese – continue to provide effort, food, shelter, clean water, healthcare and education to people who have been directly affected by war and natural calamities. They provide this aid to whoever needs it – regardless of race, religion and politics – inspired by a common feeling and respect of humanity.

Aid workers often take huge risks and make great sacrifices to help others. Just over one month ago, two Sudanese aid workers from World Vision were killed by a rocket propelled grenade that hit their office in Nyala, South Darfur. UNAMID staff, who are in this country to protect civilians, also suffer greatly. Since this time last year, 13 peacekeepers have been killed in the line of duty.

It should not be forgotten, however, that it is Sudanese humanitarian staff, Sudanese officials in institutions such as the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Education, the Humanitarian Aid Commission and local Sudanese communities who provide the institutional backbone of humanitarian assistance in Sudan. Hundreds of thousands of people have been given shelter, fed and nurtured by Sudanese people throughout Sudan who voluntarily have opened their houses and shared their often limited food and water to others who have been tragically affected.

Monday 19 August is World Humanitarian Day. It is a day to be celebrated by the Sudanese people who offered and provided aid, and by the guests of Sudan, the hundreds of aid workers who are driven only by a global humane sense of duty. On this occasion, let us reflect upon and celebrate all those who work for others who are less fortunate than themselves not for selfish gain, but for the good of humanity. Let us also honour all of those who, in different parts of the world, have paid with their lives while working to help others.

UNDP Compound, House 7, Block 5, Gama’a Avenue, P.O. Box: 913, Khartoum, Sudan, Tel: +249187122222 Fax: +249-183-773128