x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 28 July 2017

Bravery of world's aid workers honoured in Dubai

A video exhibition highlighting the efforts of aid teams who risk their lives in war zones was held in Dubai Mall as part of World Humanitarian Day.

Visitors to the Humanitarian Day exhibit at Dubai Mall learnt about the work of aid teams through interactive video screens. Sarah Dea / The National
Visitors to the Humanitarian Day exhibit at Dubai Mall learnt about the work of aid teams through interactive video screens. Sarah Dea / The National

DUBAI // The courage of humanitarian workers who risk their lives in the war zones across the region and the world was praised yesterday.

A video exhibition highlighting the efforts of aid teams was held in Dubai Mall as part of World Humanitarian Day.

The event, marked internationally, is held annually on the 10th anniversary of the Baghdad Canal Hotel bombing of August 19, 2003, which killed 22 UN staff.

"We have had almost 1,000 humanitarian workers from different NGOs who have lost their lives over the past 10 years," said Shaima Al Zarooni, chief executive of International Humanitarian City (IHC), which hosts the UN in Dubai.

"Those humanitarian workers go into the field and risk their lives to provide for those who are needy.

"Sometimes they are the ones who are in harm's way. This day is about recognising their efforts and making the public aware of their work."

The event was commended by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice President and Ruler of Dubai.

"We are obliged to act and work together globally to end poverty, sickness and ignorance suffered by many across the globe," he wrote on Twitter.

The event's slogan, "the world needs more", was the top trending Twitter hashtag in the UAE for most of yesterday.

The exhibit, which included a touch-screen presentation, ran from 10am to 10pm. By 3pm, 790 people had visited.

Ms Al Zarooni said the IHC had made 10,000 rubber wristbands to mark the day and had hoped to hand all of them out to the public.

"Humanitarian work is not only about how much money you give, it's about your actions and your attitude," she said. "It's a smile that you're giving to a labourer who's cleaning the road. It makes a big difference. We thought about how we could pass that message across and that's what this day is about."

Calum Pears, 23, a tourist from New Zealand, said: "It's certainly very interesting and it made me want to learn more."

mcroucher@thenational.ae