On World Humanitarian Day, WFP Executive Director honours colleagues on the frontlines of hunger

Published on 18 August 2017

Statement by WFP Executive Director David Beasley

Around the globe, we come together on Saturday, 19 August for World Humanitarian Day to support the millions of people across the globe trapped in conflicts and to pay tribute to the aid workers who care for them.

In all corners of the world, World Food Programme colleagues are working tirelessly to make sure that children and their families, suffering and broken apart by violence and fighting, have enough to eat. Today we remember their determination and dedication to alleviate suffering and meet the needs of the most vulnerable. We celebrate their courage and commitment to work on the frontlines of hunger, often at great risk to their own personal safety. Some have lost their lives while trying to save others.

This year, we especially mourn the tragic loss of three men working under contract for WFP -- Daniel James, Ecsa Tearp and Ali Elario, who were shot dead in April while reporting for duty in Wau, South Sudan. Our thoughts and prayers are with their families.

Humanitarian workers go where the need is, and far too often that is where conflict is as well. Fighting and violence drive 80 percent of all humanitarian needs, and 10 of WFP’s 13 largest food assistance operations are driven primarily by conflict. In Nigeria, Somalia, South Sudan and Yemen, more than 20 million people, including 1.4 million children, are on the brink of famine. Increasingly, those involved in the conflicts in these areas are targeting aid workers.
On World Humanitarian Day, we come together to reaffirm that civilians caught in conflict and those who care for them are #NotATarget.  We appeal to world leaders to take action to protect them and to deliver on the promise of our mutual, shared humanity.

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WFP is the world's largest humanitarian agency fighting hunger worldwide, delivering food assistance in emergencies and working with communities to improve nutrition and build resilience. Each year, WFP assists some 80 million people in around 80 countries.

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For more information please contact (email address: firstname.lastname@wfp.org):
Jane Howard, WFP/Rome, Tel. +39 06 65132321, Mob. +39 346 7600521
Gregory Barrow, WFP/London, Tel.  +44 20 72409001, Mob.  +44 7968 008474
Bettina Luescher, WFP/Geneva, Tel. +41 22 917 8564, Mob. + 41-79-842-8057
Gerald Bourke, WFP/New York, Tel. +1 646 5566909, Mob. +1 646 525 9982