Published On: Wed, Aug 19th, 2020

World Humanitarian Day: How key demographic has been exposed to devastating violence | World | News

Today marks World Humanitarian Day, and as poorer nations continue to count the cost of the coronavirus outbreak, as well as bloody conflicts and natural disasters, some of the leading organisations globally are launching an appeal to ensure the most vulnerable humans get the support they need. The likes of the United Nations, the World Health Organisation and the International Rescue Committee (IRC) are backing the plea by recognising some of the most vital support staff who have helped in the most harrowing situations seen in recent memory. The IRC, in particular, has focused on the importance women play in ensuring refugees and displaced people are given the levels of aid needed to survive and have a future.

To truly understand the catastrophic nature of the refugee dilemma, a look through the past three weeks reveals the worrying depths the crisis is reaching.

For example, early in August, Lebanon – and its capital Beirut – was rocked by a brutal explosion, which saw 170 lives lost, as well as around 150,000 people displaced.

Equally, less wealthy nations within parts of the Middle East and Africa have still been forced to give aid within the double tragedies of civil war – and COVID-19.

And beneath this, the IRC is desperate to help the millions of women and children who may succumb to violence as the internal fighting of countries reach new heights.

Betelhem Mengistu, a community wellbeing coordinator for the IRC in Ethiopia, is one who is concerned about that demographic as she works to ensure support is given in east Africa.

She said: “Gender-based violence (GBV) cases, particularly sexual violence and intimate partner violence, are increasing.

“It’s particularly hard for women and girls with disabilities and women who are older, as they face challenges when accessing services.”

Ms Mengistu helps protect and empower women suffering abuse by offering them “safe spaces”, although capacity at these centres have been severely damaged as a result of social distancing COVID-19 guidelines.

JUST IN: Beirut: Devastating statistic unearths real horror behind blast

The IRC’s campaign this year will also remember some of the lost real-life heroes who committed to helping others, such as child protection assistant Luka Filibus, who was abducted and killed by an armed group in northeast Nigeria.

In a statement surrounding the 31-year-old, the IRC added: “After verifying reports that Luka had been taken hostage on June 8, the IRC appealed to his captors to release him immediately and without condition, and to secure his safe return.

“On July 22 we received the news that Luka had been executed by his captors.

“We are deeply saddened and outraged by this barbaric treatment of our colleague. We grieve with Luka’s family and are doing everything we can to support them through this challenging time.”

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