What is Humanitarian Aid?

Meaning of Humanitarian Aid

Humanitarian aid is a set of actions that aim to guarantee the defense of basic human rights to threatened groups.

Natural disasters, wars, conflicts, economic crises, among others, constitute threats to the right to life, fundamental human rights and individual freedoms.

It is the assistance provided by States, non-governmental organizations, multinational organizations, such as the United Nations, and other actors that provide material resources, such as the distribution of food, and non-material resources, such as legal aid, for populations in need.

According to Global Humanitarian Assistance , humanitarian aid “ aims to save lives, alleviate suffering, and uphold human dignity during and after a man-made crisis or natural disaster, as well as to prevent those unprepared to prevent these situations. happen ”

Institutions such as the Red Cross and Doctors Without Borders are important international actors that are dedicated to bringing humanitarian aid to different parts of the world.

One of the events was the earthquake that devastated Haiti in 2010. The country, which was already weakened by conflicts of different natures, needed humanitarian assistance that involves everything from the presence of military forces to the distribution of food.

From this example, it can be seen that humanitarian aid is related to the different spheres of human life.


The right to freedom, expression, political organization are also the objective of humanitarian aid , which is why there are military forces such as the United Nations “ Peacekeeping Force ”, also known as “ blue helmets ” . .

The UN does not have an army, but countries make their soldiers available to be sent on peacekeeping missions created by the Security Council .

The “ blue helmets ” are meant to help implement peace agreements , control ceasefires, patrol demilitarized zones, create buffer zones between opposing forces, and suspend fighting, while negotiators try to formulate peaceful agreements.


The body responsible for bringing humanitarian aid actors together for emergency responses is the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs ( OCHA ).

Its mission is to mobilize and coordinate principled and effective humanitarian action with national and international actors to alleviate human suffering in disasters and emergencies.

Advocate for the rights of people in need , promote preparedness and prevention, and facilitate sustainable actions.

According to the most recent OCHA report . There are currently 128.6 million people in need in the world. 92.8 million people who will receive some kind of help . US$22.2 billion will be needed to promote minimal humanitarian aid for these people.

Also according to that report in 2016, OCHA rescued 11,271 people in Libyan waters, registered 508,664 refugees from South Sudan, and distributed 30,000 liters of water per day to displaced people in Somalia.

Finally, humanitarian aid is a crucial issue for understanding contemporary world conflicts . There is a great institutionalization, organization and logistics of these actions.

On the other hand, reflecting on this issue invites us to question the current model of capital distribution between countries, political and economic relations produce wars, policies to protect the environment, among other issues.

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