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UN World Humanitarian Day

Posted by: Mark Kelley
August 20, 2010

This week we  marked World Humanitarian Day. It's the kind of UN sponsored day that often  goes by unnoticed. But not this year- not when millions of Pakistanis are  living through the worst flood in more than a generation. Millions of homes  have been washed away, along with crops, food, and clean water. NGOs are  warning that mosquitoes breeding in the dirty, stagnate water will bring on a  malaria outbreak. There are fears of a cholera outbreak as well. It's a  nightmare.

Canada has a  complicated relationship with Pakistan. There are about 300,000 Pakistani  Canadians living in our country- so the ties are strong. But at the same time,  our troops fighting in Afghanistan are battling an enemy that is given safe  haven in Pakistani territory. In light of this, the floods in Pakistan remind  us all about the precious value of humanitarian work. Humanitarians and aid  workers are above all else neutral.  They don't take sides. They just help where help is needed.

Earlier this  summer, we told you about Don Ryan. He's a police officer in Toronto, but if  that weren't enough, Don also volunteers with GlobalMedic. Don is leaving for  Pakistan later today.  He'll be landing  in Islamabad sometime tomorrow where he'll relieve a team already in place. Don  will be providing potable water to whoever needs it. No questions asked.

It is people  like Don that I think about when I think about this notion of being a humanitarian. Don's not superhuman. He has the aches and pains of anyone  nearing retirement and he has a family back home that worries about him  everyday when he flies into the middle of disaster zones. But Don knows he can  help. He knows people need his help. So he helps. It sounds simple, and yet  there are still so many people who don't, or won't help those in need.

So here's to  you Don... good luck and stay safe.

If you want to read updates on what GlobalMedic is up to while they're in Pakistan or see if you can help them,  check out their website here.

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