The sound of bagpipes echoed in the chapel at the Australian Centre for Christianity and Culture as guests gathered to commemorate humanitarian workers killed and injured in the line of duty, while honoring those who continue to work tirelessly to provide life-saving support to people most in need.
The event commenced with the UN Secretary General’s message read by Louise Aubin, UNHCR representative and Acting Director of UNIC followed by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) message delivered by the Head of ICRC Leonard Blazeby. The representative from Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Clare Walsh acknowledged the work of millions of women humanitarians who have and still are changing lives across the globe.
On the 23 August to celebrate World Humanitarian Day UNIC Canberra organised a Diplomatic briefing via Webex by the UN Resident Coordinator, Papua New Guinea, Mr Roy Trivedy.
The briefing was focused on the El Nino climate pattern over the last year, its impact on Papua New Guinea and the corresponding humanitarian efforts to assist communities.
Beginning his briefing, Mr Trivedy said that the El Nino brought with it severe drought and frosts which was catastrophic for a country like Papua New Guinea which has 80 percent of its population heavily reliant of subsistence agriculture.
He explained the various impacts of the El Nino and how communities struggled to cope. One main issue was the lack of rainfall which resulted in the rivers and rainwater catchments drying up leading to a drastic decrease in access to clean water for drinking, cooking and washing. And where communities were reliant on waterways for transport the drop in water level caused difficulties in accessing markets, he said.
In addition to these problems drought created food shortages and food insecurity as food gardens wouldn’t grow – resulting in some communities having to rely on wild crops and berries which is generally regarded as famine food, he added.
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This year the UN and its humanitarian partners are launching a ground-breaking campaign called The world needs more… This is a first-of-its-kind project that will quite literally turn words into aid. World Humanitarian Day is a time to recognize those who face danger and adversity in order to help others. The day was designated by the General Assembly to coincide with the anniversary of the 2003 bombing of the United Nations headquarters in Baghdad, Iraq. 19 August, 2013 marks 10 years since that tragic event, which claimed Continue reading →