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Photos: Health Care Without Borders

Humanitarian day, what does it mean for you?

Every year on August 19, we celebrate World Humanitarian Day, set out by the UN to mark, commemorate and support those who risk, are injured and sometimes lose their lives while doing humanitarian work.

For the day's commemoration this year, the focus is wholeheartedly on workers who are working on the front lines of the global pandemic – risking their lives to save others'. As put so poignantly by the UN, "Aid workers are overcoming unprecedented access hurdles to assist people in humanitarian crises in 54 countries, as well as in a further nine countries which have been catapulted into humanitarian need by the COVID-19 pandemic."

Welcome back to FairPlanet's weekly roundup, and this week, as a media non-profit organisation which is dedicated to solutions-based journalism, our attention is turning to the workers who serve on the front line every day through war, civil unrest and now a global pandemic.

"I think humanitarian work needs to stop being a 'by the way' thing. It should be something that we are living as the norm."

— Umara Omar, founder of Safari Doctors, a mobile doctors unit that provides free basic medical care to hundreds of people every month from more than 17 villages in Lamu.

Read. Debate: Engage.

Humanitarian work makes the world go round


This year on August 19, which will be the eleventh year that the United Nations will be commemorating World Humanitarian Day, the attention is being focused on paying special tribute to the real-life heroes who have committed their lives to help others in the most extreme circumstances throughout the world. From doctors and nurses to essential workers such as teachers, builders, shop operators and delivery personnel, this year humanitarian work has taken an entirely new level of meaning.

"The campaign will focus on what drives humanitarians to continue to save and protect lives despite conflict, insecurity, lack of access and risks linked to COVID-19," says the UN.

It comes as no surprise that the biggest humanitarian challenge we face this year is COVID-19. With limited access to PPE and medical equipment, as well as lockdown rules placed by governments around the world, local communities, volunteers and NGOs have become the frontline of the response in many countries.

Therefore, the campaign presents the inspiring personal stories of humanitarians who are treating and preventing COVID-19.

FairPlanet highlights humanitarian efforts

Humanitarian work in Beirut

Just 10 days ago, on August 4, Beirut experienced a massive explosion on its coast, leading to unimaginable destruction of the city, killing hundreds and injuring thousands, while leaving large swathes of the otherwise bussing city and capital in utter ruins.

Lebanon has been battling with a health crisis due to COVID-19, political turmoil and crippling economic downfall, and now the country will need to face the aftermath of the explosion, which happened when a fire broke out at a warehouse in which authorities had stored 2,750 tons of highly explosive ammonium nitrate since 2013, despite repeated warnings by a custom’s official.

You can support Impact Lebanon, which is a nonprofit organisation working to bring justice and equity to the country. After the explosion, Impact Lebanon launched a fundraiser aimed at providing relief to those impacted by the disaster.


Support disaster relief efforts in Beirut

by Yair Oded

A massive explosion rocked Beirut on 4 August, 2020, leaving nearly 150 people dead and thousands injured. Here is how you can support relief efforts.
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World Humanitarian Day

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"From supporting civilians caught up in crisis to addressing disease outbreaks, women humanitarians are on the front lines." says UN Secretary-General
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Humanitarian crisis in Bosnia and Herzegovina escalates

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World Humanitarian Day: For the Greater Public Good

by Ndubuaku Kanayo

Every nineteenth day of August is set aside by the United Nations as World Humanitarian Day. This celebration commemorates aid workers who have risked their lives in humanitarian service by rallying support for people affected by crises all around the world.
Country focus

The Middle-Eastern country sitting on the edge of the Mediterranean Sea, Lebanon borders Israel and Syria and has a population of just 6 million. It is a hub of religions and cultures, with Shia Muslims, Sunni Muslims, Christians and Druze as the main population groups in a country.

Historically Lebanon has been a leader of literacy, culture and a commercial hub for the Middle East. However today the nation is facing economic turmoil and has become a place for large refugee camps for neighbouring Syria. Current Prime Minister Hassan Diab took office after his predecessor Saad Hariri had resigned in October following mass protests against economic stagnation, rampant corruption and a divisive sectarian system. But the global pandemic proved Diab is unable to take the country out of its economic crisis and has been criticised for failing the country over the past few months.

In early August, a large explosion due to 2,750 tons of highly explosive ammonium nitrate being stored in Beirut's port ripped the city apart, leaving thousands of people without homes and the country relying on humanitarian and foreign aid to push past this.