Madeline Sponsler, FISM News
An independent research organization called Humanitarian Outcomes announced this week that aid workers suffered a record 277 major attacks around the world last year, noting that healthcare workers responding to crises facing a spike in deadly violence.
A total of 483 aid workers were killed, kidnapped, or wounded in 2019. According to Humanitarian Outcomes, this is the highest number of attacks on their record.
“The ability to help vulnerable civilians in their hour of greatest need is a sign of civilization; it’s a right under international law,” Jan Egeland, Secretary-General of the Norwegian Refugee Council, said in response to the figures.
“But we are seeing an increasing number of colleagues killed, abducted, wounded … If aid workers are not protected, lifelines will falter.”
Although casualties were up overall, the number of aid workers who were killed dropped slightly to 125, from 131 a year previously, according to the data, which draws on public reports, security organizations, and aid groups.
Health staff workers have been repeatedly targeted in Syria, which was named the most violent country for aid workers, with 47 attacks and 36 fatalities last year.
They also faced a surge in violence in the Democratic Republic of Congo, which saw the biggest rise in attacks on humanitarian workers. More than half the 27 violent incidents reported in Congo last year were committed against health workers responding to the Ebola disease outbreak, according to Humanitarian Outcomes.
Its upcoming report will look at how the aid sector is adapting to risks posed by major epidemics. However, there is so far little sign of any uptick in violence linked to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Sourced from Reuters