World Humanitarian Day: August 19th - Doctors of the World

World Humanitarian Day: August 19th

On World Humanitarian Day, we pay tribute to all the humanitarian workers around the world risking their lives to provide services for the vulnerable communities that desperately need them.

Everyday, aid workers around the world go into dangerous and difficult places, from conflict zones in Syria to drought-hit areas of Somalia. These places are unsafe for everyone but aid workers, such as our medics, often face an extra risk – they are specifically attacked for helping people in need. 

As aid organizations come together today to mark World Humanitarian Day on 19 August, Doctors of the World is both celebrating aid workers’ bravery and calling for an end to these deplorable attacks. Last year, 101 aid workers were killed, 98 wounded and 89 kidnapped in major assaults on aid projects


Our network’s #TargetsoftheWorld petition calls on the UN to do more to protect health workers in humanitarian crises. 

In Yemen, which is gripped by both a vicious conflict and a cholera epidemic, there have been 93 attacks on hospitals over the last two years and half of the country’s hospitals are no longer functioning. Doctors of the World is supporting hospitals in the capital Sana’a. 

In Syria, there were 338 attacks on hospitals last year alone and six medical units supported by Doctors of the World were targeted. Around 15,000 Syrian medics were forced to flee the country between 2011 and 2015.

Ahmad Alhameed is a Syrian doctor who was jailed and tortured simply for treating wounded people. He fled Syria in 2014 and is now a refugee in the UK, where he volunteers at our London clinic. 

“I was detained just because I was saving lives. I’d been going to clinics in towns under government siege, sometimes using secret underground passages to get there,” Ahmad recalls. “It was impossible for me, as a doctor and as a human being, to do nothing when I knew that people were in need.”

Around the world our teams are often working in dangerous and life-threatening contexts. You can help support them by donating today.