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World Humanitarian Day honors global aid workers

Humanitarian aid worker, 19 year-old Furkan Dogan, a U.S. citizen of Turkish descent, was one of the nine crew aboard the aid ship Mavi Marmara who was killed by Israeli Defence forces while bringing aid supplies to Gaza. Dogan and his fellow aid workers are remembered today, as August 19 has been designated UN World Humanitarian Day. The date Aug. 19 commemorates the day in 2003 when 21 aid workers, some of them from the UN died in a car blast in Iraq.  A study by former aid practitioners and policy makers; the Humanitarian Outcomes partnership finds that in 2013 over 150 aid workers were killed, 150 kidnapped and 200 injured while trying to help those in need.  In the first eight months of 2014, 79 aid workers have been killed. "Last year, more humanitarian workers were kidnapped, seriously injured or killed than ever before. This is an outrage," UN Secretary-General, Ban Ki-Moon said to mark 2014 World Humanitarian Day. "In recent weeks, dozens of humanitarians - including members of the UN family - have lost their lives in South Sudan and Gaza. Too many people have died or suffered from deliberate attacks. Humanitarian workers and their families are hit hardest by these crimes. But they are also felt by millions of others." Moon added. According to UN Development Program, 1.5 billion people in need of help in 91 developing countries.

Report also shows that, over 800 humanitarian aid worker have been killed in last 13 years, and 2010 was the deadlies as 242 aid worker were killed.

"One aid worker killed in the line of duty is one too many," Valerie Amos, the U.N. emergency relief coordinator, said on Tuesday.

Turkey holds fourth position in contributer countries to Emergency Humanitarian Help according to Global Humanitarian Aid Report.

Only in first seventh month of 2014, Kizilay, (Turkish Red Cresent) was able to reach 2,870,633 people who needed help.

An aid campaign initiated by Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has managed to raise 45 million Turkish liras (some $20.8 million) for Palestinians in the bombed-out Gaza Strip.

Turkey has sent $350,000 worth of humanitarian aid to the war-ravaged Gaza Strip, which has reeled under an Israeli offensive that has killed more than 2,000 Palestinians and injured more than 10,000.

Turkish disaster and emergency agency, AFAD in cooperation with Turkey's international development agency (TIKA), Turkish Red Crescent (Kizilay) have mainly been responsible for getting these humanitarian aid materials to Iraq. The humanitarian materials mainly included 12,000 tents, 36,000 food packages, 147 tons of drinking water, tens of tons of dry food, 14,000 blankets, 20 tons of cleaning supplies in addition to drugs and medical supplies, 4 million Turkish liras of humanitarian aid ($1.9m) so far. 

As Turkey appears as the main supporters of Syrian people flee from the war torn country, Syrian refugees began to cross into Turkey in April 2011. As of June 2014, there were 700,000 refugees in the country, 70 percent of whom live outside the refugee camps, according to the 2014 Syria Regional Response Plan of the UN. The total number is expected to be as high as 1 million by the end of the year, the response plan said.

IHH, the Turkish humanitarian relief foundation, also working in Syria since March 2011 to provide shelter, food and health care for those who are displaced within the country and Syrian refugees, has reached aid to around 2 million Turkmen affected so far in Iraq and Syria.

Also, a container city for 10,000 Syrians is being built on the outskirts of Aleppo by Turkish aid organization Humanitarian Relief Foundation (IHH), the organization announced on Monday.

Turkey will be hosting 2016 World Humanitarian Aid Summit in Istanbul, supported by 90 delegate countries representatives, NGO's and UN representatives, which will be orginized for the first time.

Turkey hailed the importance of World Humanitarian Day, which was designated by the United Nations after the fatal bombing in UN Headquarters in Baghdad, Iraq on August 19, 2003.

"Turkey will pursue its determination to lead the humanitarian aid internationally, and especially the aid campaigns in conflict-torn Middle East," said a statement that was released by Turkey's Foreign Ministry on Tuesday.

The commemorating of Special Representative of the Secretary-General to Iraq, Sérgio Vieira de Mello and 21 of his colleagues started first in August 19, 2009 and then subsequent years focused on different themes like "We are Humanitarian Workers", "People Helping People" and "I was Here".

"Turkey considers the helping to those in need as a humanitarian duty and the key point of international community's stability," the statement added.

The UN Secretary-General will convene the first-ever global humanitarian summit of this scale in Istanbul in 2016. The goal of this summit is "to find new ways to tackle humanitarian needs in our fast-changing world."

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