Statement by the United Nations Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA), on the occasion of World Humanitarian Day
19 August 2023
Yangon - On this World Humanitarian Day, we commemorate the 20th anniversary of the tragic attack on the Canal Hotel in Baghdad that reshaped the course of humanitarian action. Today, as we reflect, we are honored to recognize the dedicated aid workers of Myanmar, who exhibit unwavering commitment in delivering crucial assistance to affected and displaced communities despite the immensely challenging operational environment.
In Myanmar, active conflicts and natural disasters have led to surging displacement and unparalleled hardships. Nearly 18 million people (one-third of the population) urgently require humanitarian aid in 2023. Despite escalating complexities and multiplying challenges, our resilient humanitarians continue to rise above difficulties to deliver life-saving support.
Local and national humanitarian partners have demonstrated unwavering resolve in supporting their fellow citizens, employing innovative approaches to reach conflict-affected and disaster-stricken areas. Their determination remains focused on the singular goal of preserving lives. Throughout the first half of 2023, these partners provided shelter, food, health services, education, protection, and more to 1.8 million men, women, and children affected by conflicts and natural disasters, achieving 36 percent of their target.
However, the journey is far from over. Completing this mission amidst insecurity and continual challenges demands safeguarding the lives of these brave humanitarians and ensuring unhindered access to those in need. Financial support is equally vital to deliver comprehensive assistance to the people of Myanmar who are grappling with the compounding consequences of COVID-19, conflict, economic crisis, and natural disasters.
Nonetheless, almost eight months into 2023, the Humanitarian Response Plan and Cyclone Mocha Flash Appeal are only funded at 25 per cent. This shortfall hinders our ability to provide timely and extensive aid.
On this World Humanitarian Day, we implore all parties to uphold international human rights and humanitarian laws, including ensuring humanitarian access and protecting aid workers. We also call upon the donor community to escalate their financial contributions, thereby reaffirming their commitment to the resilient people of Myanmar who endure this multi-faceted crisis.
In the spirit of humanity, let us stand united and resolute in our determination to protect lives and alleviate suffering no matter what and where.