In 2014, 329 aid workers were victims of major attacks.
Aid Worker Security Incidents, 2004–14
In 2014, 190 major attacks against aid operations occurred, affecting 329 aid workers in 27 countries. This represents a decrease of roughly 30 per cent from last year’s all-time high. However, numbers of attacks remained higher than in previous years.
The 2013 spike in casualties and subsequent decline have related causes. Escalating conflicts in South Sudan and Syria, as well as ongoing violence in Afghanistan, drove the surge. In all these contexts, attacks declined by over a third in 2014. This was due mainly to reduced or reconfigured operational presence in these countries, with fewer aid workers deployed to field locations deemed insecure.
Major Attacks on Aid Workers, 2004–14
Kidnappings have again surpassed shootings as the most common means of violence affecting aid workers. As in past years, most kidnap victims were national staff of aid projects in Afghanistan, and were released following intervention by community elders.
The estimated number of humanitarian aid workers in 2013 was 450,000, yielding a global attack rate of 10.5 victims per 10,000 in the field. Although the estimated number of aid workers has not yet been calculated for 2014, it is not expected to drop significantly (given humanitarian funding trends, it is more likely to increase). This means that attack rates will have reduced in 2014 along with absolute numbers.
Most Violent Settings, 2014 (total numbers of major attacks on aid workers)
In 2014, the five contexts with the greatest number of attacks on aid workers were Afghanistan, Syria, South Sudan, Central African Republic and Pakistan.
This is the first year Central African Republic appears on this list, due to the civil conflict that broke out in late 2012 and escalated in late 2013 and early 2014.