The United Nations System in The Gambia has thanked its humanitarian partners, under the leadership of the government of The Gambia, through the National Disaster Management Agency (NDMA), in collaboration with Non-Governmental Organisations, the civil society, the private sector and individuals, for successfully and collectively addressing past crises in the country. 

In a press release issued as part of activities marking the World Humanitarian Day today, the institution stated that their fruitful partnership made it possible to reach children and mothers in need of nutrition assistance, shelter, water as well as sanitation and hygiene (WASH) assistance. 

World Humanitarian Day is set aside to recognise the selfless act of those who face danger and adversity on a daily basis in order to help vulnerable people. 

This Day also provides an opportunity to celebrate the spirit that inspires humanitarian work around the globe; the willingness of millions of committed people from different walks of life to help children, women and men survive crises and rebuild their futures with hope. 

Further, it is a fitting occasion to create and increase public awareness about the humanitarian work that is being done around the world and within countries as well as advocate for partnerships and support.  

“In The Gambia, we recognise the commendable commitment of our humanitarian workers in helping the thousands of children, women, and men who are affected by disease outbreaks, drought, and annual torrential rains and flooding when they strike,” it stated.

“These noble workers have had to redouble their efforts when the situations of vulnerable populations were exacerbated over the past few years by food insecurity due to inadequate rainfall. In September 2013, over 11,500 people were affected by floods and windstorm, and more than 2000 people displaced. 

Currently, the humanitarian assistance is extended to the self-sacrificing work undertaken in the field by the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare, the National Nutrition Agency, Actionaid The Gambia, The Gambia Red Cross Society, community based organisations in large and ordinary citizens. The UN System in The Gambia appreciates the committed efforts of these partners in making a difference in the lives of Gambians,” it further noted.

The release indicated that every day, millions of individuals around the world risk their lives to bring humanitarian assistance indiscriminately to people affected by diseases, natural disasters, wars and conflicts, drought and famine. 

“On World Humanitarian Day, we renew our commitment to life-saving relief efforts, and we remember all those who died serving this noble cause,” said UN secretary-general, Ban Ki-moon. “We honour the heroic aid workers who rush bravely to help people in need. We remember their sacrifices, and we recognise the millions of people who count on humanitarian workers for their very survival.” 

The UN resident coordinator in The Gambia, Ade Mamoyane Lekoetje remarked: “Today is a day to celebrate our everyday heroes — the UN staff and partners who work tirelessly to help build the future we all want, a future of ZERO HUNGER in which everyone can thrive. As a humanitarian community, we can contribute to building resilience of those we serve by putting in place preparedness, response, and recovery measures”.

“As the world is preparing the way for a World Humanitarian Summit in 2015 to take stock of the changing environment, agree on how to adapt and make humanitarian action fit for future challenges, let’s become ambassadors of humanity and share the humanitarian principles of humanity, solidarity, neutrality and impartiality in our work.

World Humanitarian Day, initiated in 2009 and marked every year on 19th August, coincides with the anniversary of the 2003 bombing of the United Nations headquarters in Baghdad, Iraq,” it concluded.