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World Humanitarian Day: honouring those who help others


Little attention is paid to volunteers, but their tireless and sometimes dangerous work helps to make a difference to the millions of victims of natural and man-made disasters. Every year World Humanitarian Day is held on 19 August to honour the people who dedicate their lives to making a difference. Read on to find out what the EU, the world´s largest humanitarian aid donor, is doing to support their work.

Refugee camp in the north of Iraq ©BELGAIMAGE/ZUMAPRESS/D.Honl
Refugee camp in the north of Iraq ©BELGAIMAGE/ZUMAPRESS/D.Honl

In February, the Parliament voted to support the EU aid volunteers programme, which allows up to 10,000 Europeans to help out in countries hit by humanitarian crises. This could involve helping on the spot, organising logistics, reconstructing damaged infrastructure and training local staff.

Last year alone member states offered protection to 135,700 asylum seekers, nearly half of which were given refugee status. The European Parliament approved in 2013 new common asylum rules to ensure decent reception and living conditions of asylum seekers in the EU and ensure that asylum seekers are not transferred to member states unable to ensure decent living conditions for them.

MEPs have always campaigned for sufficient funding to help those in need. For example, in April the EP’s budgets committee greenlighted an extra €150 million for urgent humanitarian aid and food assistance. MEPs also regularly hold debates to call attention to the plight of refugees, such as those fleeing the conflict in Syria