Briton's death in Kenya adds to long list of aid worker killings

by Umberto Bacchi | Thomson Reuters Foundation
Friday, 18 January 2019 14:21 GMT

A glass damaged by bullets is seen at the scene where explosions and gunshots were heard at the Dusit hotel compound, in Nairobi, Kenya January 15, 2019. REUTERS/Baz Ratner

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LONDON, Jan 18 (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - The death of a British aid worker in a militant attack in Nairobi this week highlighted the rising number of people killed delivering aid to those in need.

Luke Potter, Africa programmes director for the Gatsby Charitable Foundation, was among 21 people killed when gunmen stormed a hotel complex in Kenya's capital on Tuesday.

Sixteen Kenyans and an American survivor of the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks were also among the dead.

Gatsby, a British charity, described Potter as a deeply committed humanitarian who had devoted the past 10 years to helping some of the world's poorest and most vulnerable.

Here are 10 facts about the dangers aid workers face:

* Humanitarian workers worldwide are facing an increase in raids, killings and kidnappings as fighters flout the international laws meant to protect humanitarians, aid groups say.

* 102 were killed, 80 wounded and 101 kidnapped in 2018, according to preliminary data being compiled by the Aid Worker Security Database.

* More than nine in 10 victims were local.

* In 2017, the death toll was 139 - the second highest on record and a 23 percent rise on 2016.

* South Sudan was the most dangerous country for the third year in a row, while Central African Republic rose to fourth on the list, after Syria and Afghanistan.

* South Sudan, Syria, Afghanistan and Central African Republic accounted for two-thirds of 158 major incidents targeting humanitarian operations in 2017.

* Most attacks took place in situations where international aid organisations have restricted access.

* In Kenya, 69 aid workers have been attacked and 21 killed over the past two decades.

* Tuesday's attack was claimed by al Shabaab, an al Qaeda affiliate based in neighbouring Somalia, where 208 humanitarian workers have been killed over the same 20-year period, including three last year.

* 2013 was the most dangerous year on record for aid workers with 156 deaths in 265 incidents involving 475 people. The spike was driven by conflicts in Syria and South Sudan. (Sources: Reuters, Thomson Reuters Foundation, Humanitarian Outcomes) (Reporting by Umberto Bacchi @UmbertoBacchi, Editing by Claire Cozens. Please credit the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the charitable arm of Thomson Reuters, that covers humanitarian news, women's and LGBT+ rights, human trafficking, property rights, and climate change. Visit http://news.trust.org)

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