Humanitarian Partners in Ethiopia commended dedication of national staff on the World Humanitarian Day

  • The Government of Ethiopia and humanitarian partners gathered in Addis Ababa today to celebrate 2016 World Humanitarian Day. World Humanitarian Day, which is held on 19 August, celebrates the spirit that inspires humanitarian work, as well as recognizing the commitment of humanitarian workers around the world. This year’s theme of ‘One Humanity, Shared Responsibility’ draws the world’s attention to the 130 million people caught in crisis today.

ADDIS ABABA.- Calling a moment of silence to commemorate humanitarian workers who died in the line of duty, Ms. Ahunna Eziakonwa-Onochie, Ethiopia’s Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator, lamented the over 3,952 relief workers who have been killed, wounded or kidnapped in the last 20 years while carrying out humanitarian services. “83 per cent of these victims are national staff. I will like to honour our national staff who are on the front line of assistance to people in need,” said Ms. Eziakonwa-Onuchie.

This year’s World Humanitarian Day follows on the World Humanitarian Summit (WHS), which was held in Istanbul in May. During the Summit, world leaders made a collective commitment to reduce suffering and better deliver for people in crisis. Ethiopia was profiled at the WHS for implementing a drought response model that has facilitated strong collaboration between the Government, UN, donors and NGOs to maintain development gains, while meeting urgent needs from the El Niño-induced drought.

“We are very proud that the World Humanitarian Summit acknowledged Ethiopia’s response model as an excellent example of how preparation, disaster risk management and response prioritization can mitigate the impact of natural disasters,” said Mr. Muluneh Woldemariam, Director, Early Warning and Response Directorate of Ethiopia’s National Disaster Risk Management Commission.

“The Government will continue its leadership until the drought is totally over, and families and communities recover from the impact of the crisis.” “The ‘One Humanity, Shared Responsibility’ environment in Ethiopia has enabled creative approaches to addressing food insecurity and stemming malnourishment. Ethiopia’s strong health system, with over 38,000 health extension workers on the Government pay-roll and over 3 million health development volunteers from rural Ethiopia, serves as the backbone of the current drought response,” added Ms. Eziakonwa-Onuchie.

Mr. Woldemariam noted that Ethiopia’s commitment to this World Humanitarian Day’s theme of ‘One Humanity, Shared Responsibility’ has peaked in the last 12 months. “While hosting the largest number of refugees in the continent, Ethiopia was experiencing one the worst droughts in its history,” he noted. “International humanitarian agencies and their staff have been at our side, not only to address the needs of Ethiopians, but also to provide life-saving assistance to the hundreds of thousands of refugees from neighboring countries, who we welcomed into our country.”

“The United States commends other donors who have contributed to the Ethiopia drought response, and encourages others to join this international effort. Mobilizing a robust and coordinated global response will be critical to protect the country’s development gains,” added USAID’s Mission Director in Ethiopia, Ms. Leslie Reed, who also announced nearly US$35 million in additional funding to humanitarian assistance. USAID has provided $774 million to humanitarian response in Ethiopia since 2015.

For further information, please contact: Choice Okoro; Head: Strategic Communications Unit, OCHA Ethiopia, Cell:+251-911216465 e-mail okoroc@un.org

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