South Sudan and Syria are the most dangerous places to deliver aid, according to latest report

South Sudan and Syria are the most dangerous places to deliver aid, according to latest report

Humanitarian Outcomes have today released their ‘Aid Worker Security Report’ for 2018. The report found that there was a total of 313 major attacks where aid workers were victims in 2017; 139 of which were killed, 102 wounded and 72 kidnapped. The incidents took place in 22 countries.

Although the number of attacks and victims remained the same as the 2016 figures, there was a 23% increase in fatalities. The 139 aid workers killed in 2017 is the second highest figure on record, behind 2013 when 156 people were killed.

60% of all attacks occurred in South Sudan, Syria, Afghanistan and Central African Republic, which are all experiencing heightened conflict. The Central African Republic saw a three-fold rise in the number of attacks on aid workers following an escalation in conflict.

Almost 30% of the incidents occurred in South Sudan which has been named as the most violent country in the world in which to provide humanitarian aid for the third year running.

Syria has been named the second most dangerous place, accounting for almost 20% of the attacks.

Jan Egeland, Secretary General of the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) commented on the report:

"It's the third consecutive year that South Sudan tops the global list, underscoring the complexities in delivering aid in this war, and the impunity with which armed actors operate when attacking aid workers"

The levels of violence in South Sudan escalated throughout 2017 and a record number of aid workers were killed by gunfire in the country. In comparison, instances of shootings were low in Syria, with air strikes and explosives being the most common tactic.

South Sudan has also experienced a sharp increase in the kidnappings, particularly for national staff.

Complex conflicts, such as those in South Sudan, which take place in severely constrained and restricted areas increase the dependence on local and national NGOs. Of the 313 affected by attacks in 2017, 285 were national aid workers.


Join us at the 10th Anniversary AIDF Global Summit in Washington D.C on 5-6 September 2018. The summit offers a panel discussion on ‘Managing Field Security – Protecting Aid Workers & Supplies’. Click here to view the full agenda. 

The AIDF Africa Summit will return in February 2019.

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Image credit: NRC

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