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World Humanitarian Day

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On August 19, we celebrate World Humanitarian Day. It is not only a celebration for humanitarian workers around the world but also an opportunity to look at its recipients and see how we can help.

In 2021, 235 million people will need humanitarian aid and protection. This number has risen to 1 in 33 people worldwide – the most in the history of data collection by the United Nations. The resources used for aid are increasing, but the needs are growing much faster. This funding gap affects the lives of millions of people who will not get a meal, for whom there is no medicine or shelter in an overcrowded refugee camp. The average humanitarian crisis now lasts an average of 9 years, during which it is essential to provide basic support and safety to those affected. Humanitarian aid workers reach places where human life can no longer wait to be rescued. In doing so, they themselves are at the center of danger – in 2019, a record 277 attacks on humanitarian workers were carried out, killing, kidnapping, or injuring 483 people.

The Covid-19 pandemic has made us acutely aware of the health workforce shortage, leaving many facilities unmanned and patients unattended. The World Health Organization estimates that there will be a shortage of 18 million health workers worldwide by 2030. Without medical care, areas in a state of natural disaster are exposed to new threats – viral infections, parasitic diseases, and food poisoning, which in difficult conditions turn into a lethal threat.

-Medical aid is one of the pillars of humanitarian aid. Our doctors not only go on missions themselves, during which they work in medical facilities but also train local staff. In addition, we fill the gaps in medical equipment and drugs so that our work brings long-term results. Long-term states of disasters, influenced by both the environment and ongoing armed conflicts, require long-term action

– says Małgorzata Olasińska-Chart from the Polish Medical Mission. Before twenty years of the association’s operation, the aid reached, inter alia, Senegal, Syria, Iraq, and India.

The protracted humanitarian crises in Syria, Yemen, Ethiopia, and others are just the beginning of a long list. Every year new places appear on the map of needs – among them Afghanistan, facing the changing political situation and affected by hunger Madagascar. Among the main sources of crises are natural hazards and natural disasters, environmental degradation, food insecurity, and forced displacement. Extensive cooperation between organizations such as the Polish Medical Mission and its local partners allows us to meet the needs of people affected by humanitarian crises.

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