After a natural disaster, the risk of injury is high. During a war, the possibility of facing physical harm escalates. Relief workers head out to give assistance, knowing that they have to be on the alert, 100% of the time.
Relief workers are also known as humanitarian workers, or aid
workers. They enter countries in need of aid, hoping to save lives and
alleviate the suffering, of other human beings. However relief work is
not for the faint of heart.
Once someone leaves their country, to
go overseas, to help others who are fleeing a war torn country, they
become at risk themselves. In 2008, 122 relief workers were killed and
260 were assaulted. This attack on people who work in this area is
partly due to the fact that relief workers are increasingly being seen
as political players.
In November, 2008, three gunmen attempted to
kidnap two aid workers, while they were on their way to work in Kabul.
An Afghan man who tried to assist the two aid workers was killed. One of
the aid workers was also killed while the other managed to escape.
aid workers are also in danger from the elements. Several people were
caught in the aftershock of the last major earthquake in Haiti. In
China, in May, 2008, over 200 aid workers repairing damaged roads after
an earthquake, were buried in the mudslides that followed.
to this, is the fact that the supply of clean water is usually limited
in the days immediately following a serious earthquake, hurricane or
other natural disaster. This increases the possibility, of acquiring
diarrheal illnesses such as E. coli, entamoeba and Giardia.
workers may even face harm due to cultural differences. In Sudan, aid
workers were attacked by police in January, while they were celebrating a
day off, with dining, drinking and dancing. Sudanese officials say that
aid workers and members of the U.N. staff, will be held accountable,
for breaking Sudanese law.
Relief workers often return home,
having endured the same mental trauma as a veteran of war. This happens
because of the frequency with which they undertake difficult, dangerous
tasks and neglect food, sleep and personal care, in the race to decrease
fatalities. To cut down on the effects of what they see and experience
relief workers try to keep in touch with family and friends, try to keep
their perspective and form good bonds with fellow humanitarian workers.
Source: Irinnews.org, "Aid Worker Kidnappings Rise", http://www.irinnews.org/report/97697/aid-worker-kidnappings-rise-fuelling-debate-over-ransom