GENEVA, Aug. 19 (Xinhua) -- The United Nations paid tribute to humanitarian workers on the World Humanitarian Day on Tuesday, noting that the year 2013 set a new record for violence against civilian aid operations, with 251 separate attacks affecting 460 aid workers.
“World Humanitarian Day is the day we remember the sacrifices that humanitarian workers make. We also pay tribute to all humanitarians who work to help and support the most vulnerable,” said Valerie Amos, UN Under Secretary General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, in a statement, stressing that “one aid worker killed in the line of duty is one too many.”
According to latest statistics from Humanitarian Outcomes, a team of specialist consultants providing research and policy advice for humanitarian aid agencies and donor governments, in 2013, 155 aid workers were killed, 171 were seriously wounded and 134 were kidnapped, representing a 66 percent increase from the previous year.
The spike in attacks in 2013 was driven mainly by escalating conflicts and deterioration of governance in Syria and South Sudan.
Three-quarters of all attacks last year took place in five places, namely Afghanistan, Syria, South Sudan, Pakistan and Sudan. Afghanistan -- with 81 aid workers killed -- remained the most dangerous country to deliver humanitarian operations.
Preliminary figures showed that as of Aug. 15 2014, 79 aid workers have been killed this year alone, and the months of July and August saw a rise in the level of attacks and incidents involving aid workers including in Gaza and South Sudan.
“All too often our humanitarian colleagues have paid with their lives for seeking to help those in need of assistance, targeted by terrorists trying to break the very core of our common humanity. But the spirit and values of humanitarians cannot be destroyed,” said Michael Moller, Acting Director General of United Nations Office at Geneva, in a statement.
The World Humanitarian Day marks the anniversary of 2003 bombing of the UN Office in Baghdad, Iraq when 22 people lost their lives.