Praise for LWF staff on World Humanitarian Day

A DWS staff member vaccinates a the dog belonging to a refugee as part of an animal vaccination campaign, Dosseye camp, southern Chad. The LWF celebrates the work of staff around the world on World Humanitarian Day. Photo: LWF/ C. Kästner
A DWS staff member vaccinates a the dog belonging to a refugee as part of an animal vaccination campaign, Dosseye camp, southern Chad. The LWF celebrates the work of staff around the world on World Humanitarian Day. Photo: LWF/ C. Kästner

“We know and appreciate the commitment from each one of you.”

Geneva, 14 August 2015, (LWI) –Lutheran World Federation country program staff are courageous and compassionate in their efforts to bring life-saving relief to refugees and forcibly displaced people, says the LWF General Secretary.

To mark World Humanitarian Day on August 19, Rev. Dr Martin Junge has written to all staff thanking them for their outstanding service on behalf of the LWF Communion.

Staff of the Department of World Service contribute to relief efforts in 23 African, Asian and Latin American countries. The LWF responded to all four of the world’s largest and most complex crises in 2014.

In a video greeting to staff, World Service director, Maria Immonen, especially thanked staff in hardship locations, far from family and friends, and in dangerous situations. “We know and appreciate the commitment from each one of you.”

World Service remained committed to serving the displaced, no matter where these people were and without discrimination.

“In this vein our work has expanded and grown over the past years at the rate of about 10 percent a year, with new country programs and new emergency operations being opened, ensuring we remain relevant and address these crises globally,” she said.

Dr Junge said the LWF Communion appreciated, valued and celebrated their work. “Our prayers continue to be with you for your own safety and that of your families. We pray for your continued commitment, courage, creativity, skill, wisdom, and yes—joy in the work!—as you continue to carry out your vocation to serve the neighbor in need.”

Despite the efforts of humanitarian workers the world over, the need for assistance continued to outstrip supply of resources. The world’s humanitarians were over-stretched and unable to properly respond, Dr Junge said.

The UNHCR says nearly 60 million people in the world have been forcibly displaced from their homes as a result of conflict, persecution and human rights violations.

“The scale of suffering and the necessary response is overwhelming the system. We experience this also at the LWF,” Dr Junge said. World Service was working with victims of violence from, among others, Syria, South Sudan, Sudan, Somalia, Iraq, Yemen, Central African Republic, Mali, DR Congo, Burundi, Ethiopia, Kenya, Uganda Myanmar, Colombia, and Central American countries.

The cost of humanitarian work

This year’s WHD campaign aims to inspire people around the world to become involved in creating a more humane world.

It also recognizes the toll of humanitarian response. In 2014, 329 aid workers were victims of attacks, according to figures compiled by independent analysts for Aid Worker Security Report 2014. While this is roughly 30 per cent fewer than last year’s all-time high, the number of incidents is alarming, WHD organizers say.

Dr Junge underscored the fact that country program staff worked in difficult and dangerous environments. “None of the places where you serve are safe places. Some of them, however, are particularly precarious when it comes to security issues.  I remain deeply concerned for your wellbeing and safety,” Dr Junge said.

It was unacceptable that aid workers and the people they served should be targets and victims. The LWF remained committed to speaking out more clearly and loudly against this practice while the international community needed to take decisive steps against perpetrators, he said.

Immonen said that in the face of worsening security challenges, World Service had put more resources into ensuring its programs remained as safe as possible and that it had done what could be done to improve security in difficult situations.

DWS will continue to step up efforts to reach more people, provide quality assistance, and remain accountable for resources entrusted to it.

“As a faith-based organization, our motivation comes from seeing each human being as the face of God – unique, special and irreplaceable,” Immonen said.

 

See the World Humanitarian Day page and the Department for World Service page.

Please donate to LWF emergency appeals