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World Humanitarian Day 2022: A Tribute to Aid Workers on the Front Lines in North-East Nigeria

Today on the occasion of World Humanitarian Day, the humanitarian community in north-east Nigeria honors all aid workers stepping up to respond each day to the crisis in the region by providing life-saving assistance to millions of women, children and men.

This year’s theme #ItTakesAVillage is built upon the metaphor, ‘It takes a village to raise a child.’ At an event commemorating World Humanitarian Day today in Maiduguri Mr. Matthias Schmale, United Nations (UN) Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator for Nigeria stated, “Just as it takes a village to raise a child, it takes a whole community to help people in need; to provide urgent health care, shelter, food, protection, transportation, security, water and much more.”

He noted that the humanitarian ‘village’ in north-east Nigeria proudly includes volunteers and paid staff from civil society, national and international NGOs, government, the United Nations and crisis-affected people themselves. The vast majority of aid workers in Nigeria — including those who are exposed to the most risk — are Nigerians.

“Despite the many challenges in this crisis, we should all be immensely proud of the impact humanitarians have in north-east Nigeria. Through our combined effort our humanitarian ‘village’ delivered assistance to five million people last year. That assistance saved countless lives, improved living conditions, and protected the most vulnerable people,” said Mr. Schmale. Part of this assistance continues to be empowering affected people as part of this village to help themselves.

World Humanitarian Day also advocates for the safety and security of aid workers, who often work in volatile and unpredictable environments. Since 2016, 35 aid workers have been killed in north-east Nigeria, according to the Aid Worker Security Database (AWSD). Twenty-two have been wounded and 28 kidnapped. So far in 2022, six aid workers have been kidnapped and one has been killed in the region (AWSD). Globally, in 2021 some 460 aid workers were victims in 267 major attacks: 140 aid workers were killed, 203 seriously injured and 117 kidnapped. This marks the highest number of aid worker fatalities recorded since 2013, according to Humanitarian Outcomes.

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