The United Nations has earmarked the 19th day of August every year as the World Humanitarian Day. The World Humanitarian Day for this year, 2020, is being celebrated under the theme, Real Life Heroes.
The theme of the year’s celebration said it all, namely that humanitarian workers are real life heroes, who struggle to preserve the life of others by putting their own lives on the line. Today more than ever before, it seems, humanitarian crisis abounds everywhere in their diverse forms and shapes. From all corners of the globe, the world has not known peace. There are hostilities and conflicts everywhere and the carnage that results therefrom are simply unimaginable. It is today about the bomb blast in Beirut- Lebanon, or the crisis in the Middle East or the insurgency in North East Nigeria and the ethnic cleansing in Southern Kaduna Nigeria. There is no single day without one form of crisis in one obscure part of the globe or the other. It seems as if the world was let- loose in violence and all forms of catastrophe continue to plague humanity. The recent COVID-19 is a classic example of a public health hazard that has befallen humanity since the early part of this year. Every continent of the world has had its own fair share of the effects of the pandemic, ranging from horrible death tolls, to unimaginable economic crisis.
In most of the situations of humanitarian crisis, there are perhaps perpetrators and victims. People loose their lives and properties and survivors become displaced and homeless. In fact, some have become Refugees and Internally Displaced Persons even in their own countries arising from the effects of the humanitarian crisis. In the case of Nigeria, for example, the volume of loss of life in the light of the Insurgency in the North East Nigeria and the ethnic cleansing in Southern Kaduna have become incalculable. Human life has been cheapened and communities now live in perpetual fear and mistrust of one another. People have been slaughtered like goats and the crisis deepens among neighboring but waring communities.
It is in the bid to restore possible confidence, that life is still worth living, in the context of the humanitarian crisis across the globe, and possibly set the pace for a new beginning among victims of humanitarian crisis, that humanitarian workers exist and work everywhere, where there are crisis and humanitarian needs. These men and women of valour are indeed real heroes, who value the lives of others and put their own lives on the battle-line, in order to ensure that victims of humanitarians’ crisis are restored back to life of dignity and peace. Humanitarian workers all over the world are indeed ardent in their work of providing protection, livelihood and other critical assistance to displaced persons, and their host communities. This is without any prejudice to colour, sex, religion or political affiliations. The ultimate humanitarian concern is always the life and safety of the victims of crisis.
Caritas Nigeria as the humanitarian agency of the Catholic Bishops Conference of Nigeria has been up and about extensive humanitarian interventions especially in the North East of Nigeria. The lingering Boko Haram insurgency in the bay states of the North has unleashed incalculable harm to the people of the area. Through the generous assistance of funders, Caritas Nigeria has been engaged in various life-saving interventions in the areas of livelihood support, household economic strengthening programs, agricultural inputs, unconditional cash transfers, and a whole lot of other life-saving programs.
It is in this connection, that this year’s celebration brings us the opportunity to showcase the lifechanging interventions carried out by Caritas Nigeria. As a result of its robust interventions, it has been able to put smiles on the faces of people otherwise abandoned in their fate. The beneficiaries of Caritas Nigeria interventions are hereby encouraged to share the good news of new life and solidarity in the midst of their humanitarian crisis. And that is our story, namely, to share with people in need the joy of fullness of life. May the celebration of this year’s world humanitarian day bring more joy and peace to the troubled regions of our world today.
Revd. Fr. Uchechukwu Obodoechina,
Executive Secretary /CEO,