Geneva: More than 140 aid workers were killed over the course of 2021, the Geneva-based UN’s Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said on Friday.
The figure for aid workers killed in conflict or as a result of attacks was the highest since 2013, the organization, which coordinates the global emergency response in humanitarian crises, said.
Most of those killed died as a result of being shot, with the second most common cause being airstrikes or shelling, most of them in Syria, dpa news agency quoted OCHA as saying.
During the same period, 203 aid workers were injured and 117 were abducted.
So far this year, 168 aid workers have been attacked while attempting to provide humanitarian aid, leading to 44 fatalities.
“Humanitarian needs are at an all-time high, and aid workers are working in ever more dangerous environments,” UN Emergency Relief Coordinator and Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs Martin Griffiths said.
According to the OCHA, the most dangerous countries for aid workers are South Sudan, Afghanistan and Syria.
More people around the world than ever before are in need of humanitarian assistance, with 300 million people living in crisis regions, OCHA spokesman Jens Laerke said.
“Never before have humanitarians been called to respond to this level of need, and they are doing so in ever more dangerous environments,” he said.
While donors had pledged more aid than before, needs were rising even more sharply, Laerke said.