As natural disasters increase in intensity, wars continue to ravage, and COVID-19 spreads, it has never been more dangerous to be a front-line humanitarian. It has also never been more important. This Thursday, on World Humanitarian Day, we honor the aid workers who, despite these risks, continue to serve others and save lives around the world.
When a disaster or crisis strikes anywhere around the world, tons of food and other critical relief supplies needed to provide shelter and protection are transported to far-flung locations. These items are carefully packaged so they reach the people who need them rapidly and in good condition. But after urgent assistance has been provided, the packaging produces unintended waste in communities that do not always have the means to dispose of it.
Globally, almost 33 million children have been forcibly displaced by conflict or natural disaster, according to UNICEF. With limited access to adequate, safe, and nutritious food, displaced children are especially vulnerable to malnutrition. Poor nutrition in early childhood can compromise cognitive and physical development — lasting consequences that jeopardize the health of future generations.
USAID has spent decades working with scientists, public health experts and partners to tailor our critical food assistance to meet the nutrition needs of affected people, especially those fully dependent on this assistance like the more than 26 million refugees around the world.
But we don’t…
It surprised most people when Saint Vincent island’s La Soufrière volcano erupted April 9, shooting ash clouds miles into the air. But disaster experts in USAID’s Bureau for Humanitarian Assistance were expecting — and preparing for — La Soufrière‘s eruptions for months, providing early warning systems and support for the local emergency authorities.
After the eruptions, USAID worked with partners in the Caribbean to help people in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines stay safe and healthy through evacuations, and help them recover and rebuild after.
Here are 5 ways we responded:
It wasn’t so long ago — September 2019 — when Hurricane Dorian made landfall in The Bahamas as a Category 5 storm, making it the strongest hurricane in modern history to hit the island nation and only the fifth Atlantic hurricane on record to achieve such an intensity. The storm destroyed infrastructure and affected more than 76,000 people.
While the 180+ mph winds caused damage, it was the storm surge, or rising water, that rose more than 20 feet above tide level and devastated most communities. That’s equivalent to reaching the top of a two story house! …
Tim Callaghan, USAID’s Senior Humanitarian Advisor for Latin America and the Caribbean, has led numerous hurricane responses for the Agency, including Hurricanes Iota and Eta in 2020 and Hurricane Dorian in 2019. He explains how USAID’s Bureau for Humanitarian Assistance prepares year-round for Atlantic hurricane season.
As another Atlantic hurricane season approaches, we are reminded that it takes just one bad storm to wreak havoc, kill and injure thousands, and inflict billions of dollars in damage. That’s why USAID works year-round to help our neighbors in Latin America and the Caribbean to be ready for and more resilient to natural…
Since 2017, ongoing fighting in northern Mozambique has forced nearly 700,000 people to flee their homes in search of safety. Over the last year, the violence has skyrocketed to unprecedented levels, fueled by attacks from armed groups — quadrupling the number of internally displaced persons, especially in Mozambique’s Cabo Delgado Province. Now, humanitarian groups are scrambling to meet rapidly growing needs.
The crisis in Syria has now lasted approximately as long as World War I and II combined. But USAID is not forgetting the people at the heart of the crisis who are struggling to cope with 10 years lost to civil war.
It has been ten years since fighting broke out in Syria, leading to what has become one of the largest and most complex humanitarian emergencies of our time. As we reach this somber milestone, the numbers look even more grim. Syria’s prolonged conflict has left two-thirds of the country’s population in need. …