World Humanitarian Day in the shadow of crises

Today marks the UN’s World Humanitarian day, where humanitarians across the world are being honored for their dedicated work. It happens at a time where the humanitarian challenges are greater than ever with a combination of a record high number of displaced worldwide and a lack of resources to assist them.


The world is facing a historic challenge – 65 million refugees and displaced worldwide are record-high figures. Wars and conflicts are raging in the Middle East and Africa – and more than 130 million people are in need of humanitarian assistance. At the same time, the humanitarian work has become more dangerous and 4,000 humanitarians have been attacked the last 20 years while doing their job. Humanitarians must work harder than before while at the same time have to face the risks of kidnappings, killings and attacks.


”In the Danish Refugee Council, we have more than 5,000 skilled and dedicated staff members working in some of the world’s most dangerous countries and with the most complex crises. Countries like Syria, Iraq, South Sudan, Afghanistan and the Central African Republic are affected by deep and serious crises and at the same time, the international community simply doesn’t have the capacity to meet with the enormous humanitarian needs, we are witnessing today. This means that our staff members have to work harder than ever before and under very difficult and dangerous circumstances,” says Andreas Kamm, Secretary General of the Danish Refugee Council.

New figures show that since 1997 more than 1,000 humanitarian have been kidnapped, more than 1,400 have been killed and more than 1,300 have been wounded, while doing their humanitarian work.

”We are working in some of the most unstable areas of the world where crises and conflicts are unfolding in a mix between economical, political, religious and ethnic differences and interests – and this makes it very difficult to operate on the ground. The front lines are changing all the time, new refugee influxes are happening and acute needs arise. We have to constantly be prepared on new situations and security challenges, and this requires competent, responsible and dedicated staff members, whom I’d like to grasp this opportunity to thank for their huge efforts,” says Andreas Kamm.

On the World Humanitarian Day, the DRC Secretary General and International Director will be having a meeting with the UN High Commissioner for refugees, Filippo Grandi. The Danish Refugee Council is UNHCR’s biggest NGO partner and the meeting will be a consolidation of the good cooperation between the organizations.    

”It is a possibility to re-confirm our great relationship and partnership with UNHCR. It is in many ways a terrible situation we see in the world, but there is a greater need for UNHCR than ever before – and we are very pleased and proud that we can contribute and together create solutions for the world’s displaced. Our dedicated staff members are every day making a concrete difference for people in need of humanitarian assistance,” says Andreas Kam.    

The Danish Refugee Council is a leading international humanitarian organization working in 40 conflicts affected countries around the globe, such as Syria, Iraq, Somalia, Afghanistan and the Central African Republic. DRC is annually delivering emergency aid and durable solutions to more than 2.5 million people in the world.

World Humanitarian Day marks the anniversary of the 2003 bombing of the UN headquarters in Baghdad, Iraq, when 22 humanitarian workers were killed. Ever since, the date is an opportunity to pay respect to all humanitarian workers around the globe, but also to strengthen the understanding of and respect for International Humanitarian Law.