44 aid workers have lost their lives this year with South Sudan continuing to be one of the deadliest places to be an aid worker

CARE International UK

18 August 2022


This World Humanitarian Day (Friday 19 August), CARE International, a leading humanitarian organisation, has highlighted the dangers facing aid workers as 44 aid workers have lost their lives globally since the beginning of this year.

Analysis done by CARE International on data from the Humanitarian Outcomes Aid Worker Security Database has showed that South Sudan continues to be one of the deadliest places to be an aid worker.

This year’s World Humanitarian Day theme #ItTakesAVillage is inspired by the saying ‘It takes a village to raise a child.’ Similarly, it takes a village to support a person in a humanitarian crisis – aid agencies, local volunteers and emergency services come together to provide urgent health care, shelter, food, protection, water, livelihoods and much more.

Delphine Pinault, Humanitarian Policy Advocacy Coordinator & UN Representative for CARE International, said: 
“While the situation is incredibly difficult and precarious for so many in Ukraine, tragically, we are witnessing several donor governments re-directing overseas development assistance, especially to respond to the crisis in their own countries, which indirectly impacts funding for other humanitarian crises. As a result, humanitarian appeals of countries experiencing the worst hunger and famine-conditions, including Somalia, Mali, Niger, Afghanistan and South Sudan, are drastically under-funded. 

“With the world facing an unprecedented hunger crisis, the international donor community plays a crucial role in ensuring funding decisions are strictly needs-based and not politically driven.” 

South Sudan

South Sudan is facing its worst hunger crisis since it gained independence 11 years ago. The knock-on effects of the Ukraine crisis are exacerbating the food crisis with sharp increases in the cost of food and fuel. 

Abel Whande, CARE South Sudan Country Director, said: 
“That the very people committed to easing suffering and supporting the most vulnerable continue to be killed, is horrifying.

“Failing to ensure the safety of humanitarians means disruptions to vital aid operations, and with 7.74 million people in South Sudan facing acute hunger, these disruptions could mean the difference between life and death for some.” 

The single deadliest day for aid workers in 2022 so far occurred in Afghanistan, when eight polio vaccinators were killed while conducting home visits on 24 February. Polio vaccinators have frequently been targeted in Afghanistan, one of only two countries where wild poliovirus is endemic – the other country being Pakistan. Nearly 19 million people face acute hunger, the economy has all but collapsed, affected communities are still reeling from last month’s deadly earthquake and the price of food and everyday essentials has skyrocketed over the past year.        

Mélissa Cornet, CARE Afghanistan’s Humanitarian Advocacy Advisor, said:  
“Aid workers are undertaking incredibly important work in a country that is amid a complex humanitarian crisis. Women and girls are often disproportionately affected in times of crisis and this crisis is no exception. We continue to hear reports of girls being married at a young age just to help the family survive. It’s essential that aid workers - including women humanitarian workers who are so critical to reaching women and girls - are protected, so they can continue carrying out lifesaving work.”    


Three aid workers have died in attacks in Ukraine this year - the first aid worker deaths in the country since 2014.  

Richard Simpson, CARE Country Representative Ukraine, said: “The security situation for aid workers has deteriorated sharply since the escalation in conflict in February this year. With a third of Ukrainians displaced from their homes and millions still inside the country, it’s more important than ever that the safety of humanitarian workers is preserved so they can carry out critical work.”               


Notes to Editors  
For media enquiries and to organise interviews with a spokesperson contact David Moore, Press Officer at CARE International UK. Moore@careinternational.org

Delphine Pinault, Humanitarian Policy Advocacy Coordinator & UN Representative for CARE International, is available for broadcast interviews on Friday 19th August

Founded in 1945, CARE is a leading humanitarian organisation fighting global poverty. CARE has more than seven decades of experience helping people prepare for disasters, providing lifesaving assistance when a crisis hits, and helping communities recover after the emergency has passed. CARE places special focus on women and children, who are often disproportionately affected by disasters. To learn more, visit www.care-international.org. 

  • Analysis is based on the Humanitarian Outcomes’ Aid Worker Security database where incidents are defined as deliberate acts of violence affecting aid workers, such as killings, kidnappings, and attacks that result in serious injury: https://aidworkersecurity.org/incidents/.  
  • Numbers in the database for 2022 are provisional for the first six months of the year, with full official annual figures released at the end of calendar years. 2022 figures are available here: https://aidworkersecurity.org/  
  • There have been 73 major attacks on aid workers so far in 2022 with 44 deaths this year (numbers accurate as of 1 August). The majority of deaths, 95%, involved national staff (42 out of 44 deaths were national staff. The two international staff were killed in South Sudan and Mali). South Sudan tops the fatalities list so far in 2022 with 11 deaths.  
  • Funding of humanitarian response plans https://hum-insight.info/