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UN OCHA, humanitarian orgs launch #ShareHumanity

For Philippine Red Cross Secretary-General Gwendolyn Pang, the annual celebration must also serve as a reminder for everyone to strengthen preparedness against disasters

“After Typhoon Yolanda, Typhoon Ruby and other typhoons after Yolanda, we have seen that people are more aware - they’re more prepared. They do pre-emptive evacuation, and we have seen less and less lives and resources lost unnecessarily," Pang said. 

She also urged the public to make preparedness as a way of life. “I think we should not just depend on aid workers, not just depend on people who would help, but as a country, we have to be better prepared.”

World Humanitarian Summit

Koide emphasized that the celebration is a prelude to the World Humanitarian Summit happening in May 2016 in Istanbul, Turkey.

"Globally, it’s a big challenge because every year, we have more people who are hit in a crisis, more places (where we) have to respond. Yet, we struggle to get funds, to get even human resources to go to all these places and help people," she said. 

Koike also sees a multi-sectoral approach on ensuring flow of humanitarian aid especially in times of disasters and conflicts. "We have to tap onto the resources of a lot more wider communities through partnerships - not only UN agencies, not only NGOs that we usually count on but of course government, most of the private sector and also the youth.”

The celebration culminated with the public screening of the film produced by the SURGE project which features effective disaster risk reduction practices around the Philippines. SURGE, which stands for Scaling Up Resilience in Governance, helps high-risk communities in the country to build resilience to disasters especially of the most vulnerable groups. 

The World Humanitarian Day is held every August 19 to commemorate the anniversary of the 2003 UN Headquarters bombing in Baghdad, Iraq where 22 people have been reported dead and to raise awareness on humanitarian aid worldwide. – with reports from Jay Agonoy/Rappler.com

Jay Agonoy is a Rappler Intern.