Government introduces new British medal to honour humanitarian efforts
The Government has introduced a new medal to honour people who provide aid during major humanitarian crises, such as floods and earthquakes.
The Humanitarian Medal, which has been approved by King Charles, will be awarded to staff in public service organisations and charities who respond in support of human welfare, either during or in the immediate aftermath of a significant event.
Recipients of the medal will be people who have responded to major humanitarian disasters, both at home and abroad.
Crises could range from natural and conflict-related disasters to significant industrial accidents and biological emergencies, such as an epidemic.
This new medal is a fitting tribute to our humanitarian heroes who put the needs of others before their own, often in the most challenging or dangerous environments
The Cabinet Office highlights the civilian and military response to the outbreak of Ebola across West Africa in 2015 as an example of the kind of service the medal will recognise.
Deputy Prime Minister Oliver Dowden said: “Britain has a long and proud tradition of being first in line to help those in need, wherever they may be in the world.
“This new medal is a fitting tribute to our humanitarian heroes who put the needs of others before their own, often in the most challenging or dangerous environments.”
The Cabinet Office said the new medal will be similar to a military operational medal, in which it will “seek to acknowledge service given in response to a specific event”.
Eligibility for the Humanitarian Medal is not restricted to British nationals, and includes civil servants and charity workers, as well as military and emergency services personnel, who are operating on behalf of the UK Government.
International Development Minister Andrew Mitchell said the medal will shine a spotlight on “unsung humanitarian heroes”.
He said: “At a time when the world faces increasing crises, this new Humanitarian Medal recognises the unsung humanitarian heroes who go above and beyond to provide aid when disasters hit.
“I applaud the efforts of those who show such courage and serve as inspiration in a range of desperate situations.
“Our work around the world depends on these extraordinary people, and this award honours their outstanding contribution in responding to a major crisis.”
The medal’s design features an image of the King on one side and the words “for humanitarian service” on the other.
It is decorated with a multi-coloured ribbon which aims to reflect “the different paths for humanitarian service and the variety of services involved in such responses”, according to the Cabinet Office.
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