World Humanitarian Day commemorates aid workers – Finland grants new aid to crisis areas

World Humanitarian Day commemorates aid workers – Finland grants new aid to crisis areas

On World Humanitarian Day 19 August, the world pays attention to global humanitarian needs and honours the people who, in the midst of conflicts and natural disasters, support those in need. This year, the theme of the day is ‘real life heroes’. The majority of aid workers are local people who, in difficult and often dangerous circumstances, carry out humanitarian work to alleviate the distress of others.

Finland and Finnish people have a long history of supporting humanitarian aid work. This reinforces the international image of Finland as a helpful, reliable and responsible nation.

"This year, we have supported several projects that aim to tackle the problems caused by the COVID-19 crisis. In the beginning of August, we quickly reacted to the disastrous explosion in Lebanon by deciding to grant aid. Unfortunately, humanitarian aid is now needed more than ever,” says Minister for Development Cooperation and Foreign Trade Ville Skinnari.

By decision of Minister Skinnari, Finland will contribute EUR 3 million to a logistics operation of the World Food Programme (WFP) aiming to alleviate the effects of the COVID-19 crisis. The WFP plays a leading role in coordinating the transports of humanitarian organisations, and the coronavirus pandemic has made deliveries of relief supplies more difficult. 

The education sector is also suffering because of the COVID-19 pandemic, and the situation is particularly difficult in conflict areas. Therefore, Finland has decided to allocate three million euros to the Education Cannot Wait fund. Last year, the fund supported the school attendance of 2.6 million children, half of whom were refugees or internally displaced persons. 

The situation in the Middle East continues to be very difficult and tense. For this reason, Finland has allocated additional two million euros to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) and one million euros to the operation of the International Committee of the Red Cross in Lebanon in response to the Beirut explosion.

The humanitarian aid budget of the Ministry for Foreign Affairs for 2020 is approximately EUR 90 million.

Inquiries: Claus Jerker Lindroos, Director, Unit for Humanitarian Assistance and Policy, tel.

The Foreign Ministry’s email addresses are in the format [email protected]