A dangerous job

A dangerous job

Kidnappings and assualts are increasingly politically motivated

According to the "Aid Worker Security Report 2015", there were 190 attacks on humanitarian organisations in 2014 – four times more than a decade ago. How can Welthungerhilfe protect their staff?

When aid organisations can no longer guarantee the safety of their staff, many cease to work in the countries in question. This happens most often in Afghanistan, Sudan, Somalia and Pakistan, as these regions are particularly dangerous.

In some regions as here after the earthquake in Haiti in 2010 the work is particularly dangerous. ©Grossmann
In some regions as here after the earthquake in Haiti in 2010 the work is particularly dangerous. ©Grossmann

Until a few years ago, the majority of incidents had criminal roots. Development aid workers were held up by attackers hoping to obtain money or valuables. Today, many violent acts are politically motivated. Development aid workers are kidnapped and threatened with death by groups demanding the release of prisoners or trying to influence political decisions.

In order to prevent attacks happening in the first place, development organisations have come up with various strategies to protect their staff. Some members of staff are given weapons or are accompanied by armed escorts as they go about their work. But Welthungerhilfe does not employ these types of military measures as a matter of principle.

To avoid being seen as a target, Welthungerhilfe attempts to be accepted by the population as an organisation providing help. In order to achieve this, Welthungerhilfe works closely with advisors and mediators who know the local population and who can establish contact with conflicting parties. In addition, asafety advisor works in the organisation headquarters in Bonn to ensure that the necessary protection measures are implemented in conflict regions.




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Andrea Padberg

Andrea Padberg

0228-22 88 287


World Humanitarian Day is a time to recognize those who face danger and adversity in order to help others. The day was designated by the General Assembly to coincide with the anniversary of the 2003 bombing of the United Nations headquarters in Baghdad, Iraq.