World Humanitarian Day (WHD) is held every year on August 19 to pay tribute to aid workers around the globe who risk their lives in humanitarian services, and to people affected by crisis around the world.
Conflict is claiming a massive toll on people’s lives. Trapped in wars that are not of their making, millions of civilians are forced to hide or run for their lives.
Children are taken out of school, families are displaced from their homes, and communities are torn apart, while the world could be doing more to stop their suffering.
The UAE and the rest of the world celebrate the annual World Humanitarian Day under this year’s slogan, #NotATarget, to honour the lives of humanitarian workers who died while performing their duty.
Through the three main pillars of its humanitarian approach, the UAE has placed great importance on providing protection for humanitarian workers, as well as humanitarian assistance to those in need.
The three pillars involve protecting civilians in humanitarian emergencies, especially women and children, working closely with local and international organisations, and strengthening the global humanitarian system through meaningful cooperation.
The UAE has provided extensive financial and infrastructural support to Yemen, Syria, Palestine, Egypt and Pakistan during crises.
The value of the country's humanitarian assistance, including long-term aid for refugees and internally displaced people (IDP), amounted to AED 4.48 billion (USD 1.23 billion) in the period between 2015 and July 2017.
The UAE’s humanitarian aid is not limited to providing financial support. It also includes the martyrdom of humanitarian workers who gave their lives for their work in Afghanistan and Yemen.
Here are 6 times the UAE has championed humanitarian efforts around the world:
The UAE has contributed AED 6.65 billion (USD 1.8 billion) to Yemen from 1971 to 2015. In 2014 alone, the UAE contributed AED 1.3 billion (USD 353 million), out of which AED 844.2 million (USD 229 million) was directed towards humanitarian aid and AED 494.7 million (USD 134 million) towards planned infrastructure rehabilitation projects.
The UAE has provided AED 2.14 billion (USD 582 million) to help 1.5 million internally displaced people (IDP) and refugees in Syria and host countries, including Jordan, Lebanon, Iraq, Turkey and Egypt. The UAE pledged AED 1.6 billion (USD 460 million) at the International Humanitarian Pledging Conference for Syria held in Kuwait. The UAE also established and funded Mrajib Al Fhood refugee camp and set up the Emirati Red Crescent camp for Syrian refugees in northern Iraq.
The UAE has always provided its unreserved support to Palestine. In 2014, the UAE announced that it would donate AED 736 million (USD 200 million) for reconstruction in Gaza. Of this total, the UAE disbursed AED 280 million (USD 76 million), while the remaining amount has been distributed according to the commitments with UAE donor institutions. This week, the United Arab Emirates also agreed to provide an additional AED 55 million (USD 15 million) a month to Gaza to improve conditions of the residents in the largest open-air prison in the world.
4. Sierra Leone
In August 2017, His Highness Sheikh Khalifa directed the provision of urgent relief to the Republic of Sierra Leone, which has suffered a natural disaster due to heavy rains causing landslides that have killed some 300 people and displaced hundreds more. The UAE was one of the first donor countries to announce emergency relief. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation said it would provide relief aid through the World Food Programme.
The UAE also contributed to the recovery of Egypt. The total value of the UAE's humanitarian and development aid to Egypt amounted to AED 47.3 billion (USD 12.8 billion).
The UAE has also always been a long time supporter of Pakistan. The development and humanitarian programmes implemented by the UAE to assist Pakistan has cost the government more than AED 1.1 billion (USD 320 million). The projects focus on reconstructing infrastructure and providing humanitarian aid.