Statement by President Joseph R. Biden, Jr. on World Humanitarian Day
Today, on World Humanitarian Day, we honor the humanitarian workers around the world who need our protection and support more than ever as they carry out their life-saving work. Nineteen years ago, a terrorist bombing claimed the lives of humanitarian aid workers in Baghdad. On this day, we remember them as well as the sacrifice made by the thousands of aid workers who have been killed, injured, or kidnapped since then.
This year, the world faces unprecedented humanitarian need. More than 300 million people need assistance accessing clean water, emergency medicine, shelter, food and nutrition, protection and other services; more than 100 million are forcibly displaced; and hundreds of millions are experiencing hunger. Humanitarian workers are rising to this challenge, undertaking everyday acts of heroism around the globe.
In nearly every circumstance, the first responders to international disasters – both natural and manmade – are also those directly affected. Local humanitarian aid workers perform the bulk of the response and bear the highest risks to selflessly answer the call to help their neighbors. That’s why my Administration committed nearly $13 billion in humanitarian funding last year, to support the efforts of global, national, and local humanitarians, including those delivering food and relief items to Ukrainians under attack, supporting basic needs of the Afghan people, racing to combat growing child malnutrition in Somalia, supporting traumatized survivors of gender-based violence in Tigray, welcoming millions of refugees in Jordan, Bangladesh, and Colombia, and offering life-saving health care in Yemen.
The United States is the world’s largest humanitarian donor, but we know that funding is not enough. It is unacceptable that each year hundreds of aid workers – the majority local responders – are killed, kidnapped, or injured and their work obstructed. It is unconscionable that many of the worst drivers of displacement and humanitarian need, including conflict and climate change, continue unabated. And it is imperative that we collectively strengthen our humanitarian response—our funding and how we employ it. On this World Humanitarian Day, let us honor humanitarians with a renewed commitment to ensure their protection, redouble our efforts for a more equitable, peaceful and stable world, and strengthen the ability of the global humanitarian community to address suffering around the world.