When disaster strikes, access to clean water is critical for people’s survival and communal health. Different situations require different approaches. Here are three different ways World Vision emergency responders bring life-saving clean water in emergencies around the world.
Building a water system from scratch in the desert
In Jordan, one of the world’s most water-scarce countries, World Vision constructed the water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) system for part of Azraq camp for Syrian refugees. Here’s a breakdown of how it happened.
Government officials and members of the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) selected a site to host refugees.
A cooperative of Jordanian, United Nations, and aid agencies designed and laid out the details of the new camp with safety, comfort, and cultural considerations in mind.
The WASH cooperative approved World Vision to build the WASH systems for a section of the camp that will host up to 30,000 people.
Staff prepared site plans and work orders and then hired local contractors.
Staff made the new borehole sites accessible for water trucks, securing it with fencing and pavement.
Contractors dug trenches and ordered pipes, valves, faucets, metal sheets and hardware for latrines and shower stalls. Local manufacturing companies constructed 2,700 concrete septic tanks.
Staff supervised the installation of the system, including nearly 7 miles of pipeline to bring water from the tanks to 156 taps.
Engineers turned on the water.
Engineers managed the system for two years, monitoring water quality and regulating flow.
Staff conducted hygiene training sessions with refugees in schools and health centers to improve health and general hygiene.
Staff designed an exit strategy, handed over the work to UNHCR, and, eventually, to the camp residents themselves.
Surviving after a rapid-onset disaster
Hurricane Maria destroyed Puerto Rico’s electrical grid. Many communities lost water service. Here’s one way fast-acting aid workers brought clean water to storm survivors.
World Vision staff contacted a corporate partner to purchase or receive a donation of mobile high-volume water filtration units for survivors who urgently needed clean drinking water. These systems can filter about 10 gallons of water per minute and serve hundreds of people daily.
A Puerto Rico-bound cargo plane transported the filters and other supplies to the disaster zone.
Upon arrival, a local transport company picked the units up and delivered them to World Vision’s local church partner.
Staff donated units to partners like the International Medical Corps, which used them in four clinics that treated people seven days a week. Each clinic can filter an estimated more than 4,800 gallons of water per day to serve patients and local residents.
One unit stayed with the church, so World Vision-trained local staff could filter water for families in the city and surrounding areas. Other units were donated to partner organizations to serve their communities as needed.
Restoring and maintaining a water system for the long-haul
Typhoon Haiyan struck the Philippines in 2013 as one of the strongest storms on record. It left entire communities without working water and sanitation systems. Here’s how World Vision helped communities in the Philippines build back better.
World Vision aid workers distributed supplies like bottled water, jerrycans, purification packets, and soap to help families survive immediately after the storm.
World Vision deployed teams to promote good hygiene and safe water treatment.
Once roads were passable, World Vision staff and local companies delivered donated generators to get water flowing again in remote, hard-hit communities.
Engineers and local leaders rehabilitated damaged water points, allowing schools to open and families to focus on recovery.
World Vision hired skilled local contractors to install new water points, pipelines, and taps.
Months to years after the storm, local staff trained and equipped community members to plant trees to mitigate flooding.
World Vision and health department staff tested the water quality and facilitated the formation and training of local WASH committees to manage the water systems long-term.
Flooding in Southern Africa has affected nearly 3 million people in Mozambique, Malawi, and Zimbabwe since rains began in early March and Cyclone Idai struck March 14 and 15. The death toll exceeds 843 people and many more are missing.
Idai is the strongest cyclone on record in the Southern Hemisphere. The U.N. children’s agency estimates that 1.5 million children are affected.
As flood waters recede, survivors are struggling to obtain food, clean water, and shelter.
Cyclone Idai developed in the Mozambique channel between Mozambique and Madagascar. Often, storms that develop there don’t strengthen as much as those that form north and east of Madagascar, but Cyclone Idai was fed by warm water temperatures.
The storm wiped out roads, bridges, and dams as it swept through Southeast Africa. The United Nations estimated that Cyclone Idai and subsequent flooding destroyed more than $1 billion of infrastructure. More than 100,000 homes were damaged or destroyed, along with at least 1 million acres of crops.
How have people been affected by cyclone and flooding?
Hundreds of thousands are homeless and displaced. Many people have lost family members and friends and seen their communities devastated. Cases of cholera, malaria, diarrhea, and respiratory infections are increasing due to poor living conditions. In Mozambique alone, health providers have confirmed more than 1,400 new cases of cholera since the cyclone hit.
Aid is reaching people in need, and more is on the way:
Mozambique – Food, water, shelter items, and household goods are being distributed. Children are enjoying play activities in two World Vision Child-Friendly Spaces.
Malawi – Food, children’s clothing, and household items are being distributed. More than 90,000 people are benefiting from shelter materials. Nine hospitals received water treatment chemicals. One Child-Friendly Space has been set up where 300 children can play safely and recover.
Zimbabwe — Food, household items, and hygiene supplies are being distributed.
Venezuela is in crisis. The economy has collapsed, and an uprising of political opposition to President Nicolas Maduro has put the country’s leadership in question. About 3.4 million Venezuelans — 5,000 per day in 2018 — have left the country seeking food, work, and a better life.
Latin America’s largest migration in recent years is driven by hyperinflation, violence, and food and medicine shortages stemming from recent years of political turmoil. Once-eradicated diseases like cholera and malaria have returned, and children increasingly are dying of causes related to hunger and malnutrition.
An estimated more than 1.1 million people have settled in Colombia, nearly 506,000 in Peru, 288,000 in Chile, 221,000 in Ecuador, 130,000 in Argentina, and 96,000 in Brazil. About 300,000 Venezuelans are in the United States and more than 255,000 in Spain, according to the U.N. International Organization on Migration.
1920s to 1970s – Oil is discovered in Venezuela, which is found to have the world’s largest reserves. The nation’s economic development is based on rising prices and profits in oil exports.
1980s to 1990s – Global oil prices fall; Venezuela’s economy contracts. The country faces massive debt.
1998 – Hugo Chavez, former leader of a 1992 coup attempt, is elected president. He promises to use the country’s oil wealth to improve the lives of the poor.
2000s – Chavez expands social services, but corruption is rampant, and a steady decline in oil production reduces oil reserves and increases government debt.
2010 to 2012 – Chavez’ attempts at economic reform – currency devaluation and price controls – are ineffective.
2013 – After 14 years of rule, Chavez dies of cancer at age 58. Chosen successor Vice President Nicolás Maduro assumes the presidency and narrowly wins an election. With inflation at more than 50 percent a year, the National Assembly gives Maduro emergency powers for a year, beginning in November.
2014 – Public spending is curtailed because of low oil prices. Anti-government protests are broken up with force.
2015 – The opposition Democratic Unity Party wins control of the National Assembly, ending 16 years of Socialist Party rule.
2016 – The economy is in crisis, and the healthcare system lacks funding. Hunger and malnutrition, maternal and child mortality, infectious diseases, and unemployment are increase alarmingly.
2017 – Maduro’s government creates a new legislative body, which usurps constitutional legislative function. Crackdowns in response to anti-government protests leave more than 100 dead.
May 2018 – Maduro wins the presidency again in a low-turnout election that was seen by many countries as fraudulent because of low participation by opposition parties.
August 2018 — To tackle hyperinflation, the government slashes five zeroes from the face value of its old currency and ties the new “sovereign bolivar” to a cryptocurrency that can’t be traded.
November 2018 — The U.N. estimates that 3 million Venezuelans have migrated because of the poor economy and shortages in food and medical care.
2019 – Maduro is sworn in for his second six-year term. As opposition leader and head of the National Assembly, Juan Guaidó, declares himself to be interim president according to the constitution. He is recognized as such by the U.S., Canada, and Venezuela’s Latin American neighbors.
FAQs: What you need to know about the Venezuela migration crisis
Explore frequently asked questions about what’s happening in Venezuela, why people are fleeing, and how you can help those affected.
About 3.4 million Venezuelans have left the country seeking food, work, and a better life since 2014.
Child malnutrition has reached crisis levels in Venezuela, the U.N. children’s agency recently reported.
Because Venezuela’s health system has collapsed, diseases such as measles, diphtheria, and malaria, that were once eradicated, are now spreading, and even spilling over national boundaries as Venezuelans migrate.
Who and how many people are affected by this crisis?
Venezuelans from every walk of life are affected by the crisis. About 3.4 million have left the country to find work, food, better healthcare, and stability. Estimates suggest between 4 and 8 million Venezuelans have left their homes since 2014.
Most Venezuelans are leaving home because the effects of years of hyperinflation, violence, and food and medicine shortages have become unbearable. The country was once considered the richest in Latin America, thanks to having the largest oil reserves in the world. But more than a decade of declining oil revenue and poor governance for over a decade mean the national economy collapsed, and the government has not been able to provide adequate social services.
Most people are going to neighboring countries. Of the 3.4 million people who have left Venezuela, 2.7 million have remained in Latin America and the Caribbean. The highest concentration of Venezuelan migrants is in Colombia where 1.1 million of them have relocated. As many as 300,000 Venezuelans have settled in the U.S. and more than 255,000 in Spain.
Children are among the most vulnerable in this crisis. As food stocks dwindle, they are at greater risk of hunger and death. And they face greater danger of exploitation and harm while in transit with their fleeing families. An estimated 460,000 children who have left Venezuela with their families need immediate humanitarian aid according to World Vision staff leading our response to the crisis. Girls often face gender-based violence and greater risk of trafficking in fluid, mass-migration situations like the Venezuela crisis.
What’s the difference between a migrant, a refugee, and an asylum seeker?
A migrant is different than a refugee. But either can seek asylum outside their country. The United Nations Refugee Agency explains: “Refugees are forced to flee to save their lives or preserve their freedom. ‘Migrant’ describes any person who moves, usually across an international border, to join family members already abroad, to search for a livelihood, to escape a natural disaster, or for a range of other reasons. Refugees are protected by international law. But migrants are subject to the unique laws and processes of the country they move to.
Asylum-seekers can be refugees or migrants. But while asylum-seekers officially apply for long-term legal protections and status in the country they flee to, refugees enjoy more short-term protections and status. Unregistered migrants do not necessarily receive the same protections or legal benefits in their host country.
The Venezuela crisis consists mostly of migrants and some refugees fleeing threats of violence, but hundreds of thousands of Venezuelans have received legal asylum in their new host countries.
How is World Vision responding to the Venezuela crisis?
World Vision staff in countries throughout the Andean region began working in 2018 to address the needs of Venezuelan refugees.
In Colombia, we are helping about 40,000 people with health, food, economic empowerment, and educational programming. Our Child-Friendly Spaces give children in difficult living conditions a place to play, learn, and receive psychosocial care.
In Ecuador, we provide hygiene kits and workshops in child protection and economic empowerment.
Our staff in Peru are working with about 56,000 Venezuelans to provide health, hygiene, food services, and prepaid cash cards to help them cover basic needs upon arrival in Peru.
In Brazil, our staff is working to set up Child-Friendly Spaces for migrant children and help facilitate Venezuelans who are registering for documentation.
How can I help people affected by the Venezuela crisis?
You can help Venezuelans by remembering them in prayer and helping World Vision meet their needs.
Pray that Venezuelans will receive food, medicine, and other necessities. Pray for families and communities that are broken because they have had to flee from hardship. Ask God to protect people who have fled their homes, especially children, the elderly, and disabled, who are among the most vulnerable.
Give to World Vision’s relief fund to address the needs of Venezuelans.
A powerful undersea earthquake that struck off the coast of Sumatra island, Indonesia, set off the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami, also known as the Christmas or Boxing Day tsunami, on Sunday morning, Dec. 26, 2004. The magnitude 9.1 quake ruptured a 900-mile stretch of fault line where the Indian and Australian tectonic plates meet. It was a powerful megathrust quake, occurring where a heavy ocean plate slips under a lighter continental plate.
The quake caused the ocean floor to suddenly rise by as much as 40 meters, triggering a massive tsunami. Within 20 minutes of the earthquake, the first of several 100-foot waves hit the shoreline of Banda Aceh, killing more than 100,000 people and pounding the city into rubble. Then, in succession, tsunami waves rolled over coastlines in Thailand, India, and Sri Lanka, killing tens of thousands more. Eight hours later and 5,000 miles from its Asian epicenter, the tsunami claimed its final casualties on the coast of South Africa. In all, nearly 230,000 people were killed, making it one of the deadliest disasters in modern history.
Since the 2004 tsunami, governments and aid groups have prioritized disaster risk reduction and preparedness. Only three weeks after the tsunami, representatives of 168 nations agreed to the Hyogo Framework for Action, which paved the way for global cooperation for disaster risk reduction. Since then, ocean floor earthquake sensors have been installed to trigger early warnings, and many local communities have been trained in evacuation and disaster response.
Major earthquakes and tsunamis in August and September 2018 have tested Indonesia’s ability to respond and recover. Then, in December 2018, Anak Krakatau volcano’s ongoing eruptions in the Sunda Strait caused undersea landslides that triggered a tsunami that struck beaches in both Sumatra and Java. With no warning triggered by the volcanic activity, more than 400 people died. Now, the Indonesian government is working to add volcano sensors to its warning systems.
When disaster strikes, World Vision is there. Help us respond to disasters like earthquakes and tsunamis.
7:58 a.m.: A magnitude 9.1 earthquake occurs off the northwest coast of Sumatra.
+15 minutes: The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center in Hawaii registers the quake.
+20 to 30 minutes: Tsunami waves more than 100 feet high pound the Banda Aceh coast, killing about 170,000 people and destroying buildings and infrastructure.
+1.5 hours: Beaches in southern Thailand are hit by the tsunami. Among the 5,400 who died were 2,000 foreign tourists.
+2 hours: The tsunami strikes the Sri Lankan coastline from the northeast and all around the southern tip; more than 30,000 people are dead or missing. The east coast of India is hard hit from Chennai south; more than 16,000 people are killed.
+8 hours: The tsunami reaches the east coast of Africa, killing more than 300 people in Somalia, Tanzania, and Kenya.
FAQs: What you need to know about the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami
Explore frequently asked questions about the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami, and learn how you can help survivors of disasters.
The Sumatra-Andaman earthquake struck 150 miles from the coast of Sumatra island, on the northwest of the Indonesian island group, and 31 miles below the ocean floor. The quake occurred along a fault line between the Indian tectonic plate and the Burma microplate, part of the Australian plate. The Indian plate is a heavy ocean plate, and it slipped under the lighter coastal plate, rupturing a 900-mile length of the fault.
How big was the earthquake that caused the Indian Ocean tsunami?
The earthquake’s magnitude was measured between 9.1 and 9.3, making it the third-most powerful quake since 1900. Magnitude is a measure of the release of energy at the earthquake’s source.
In the worst-affected areas, the quake’s intensity rated IX on the Mercalli scale, the second highest rating possible. So the quake caused violent shaking and extensive damage to even well-built buildings. Earthquake intensity is based on observation and varies in different places.
Why was the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami so destructive and deadly?
The first giant waves from the Indian Ocean tsunami reached Banda Aceh, a city of about 300,000 people within 15 or 20 minutes after the earthquake. Few residents of the densely populated area realized that the earthquake they had felt could cause a tsunami, and there was little time to flee to higher ground.
Traveling as fast as 500 mph, the waves spread out to distant countries including Thailand, Sri Lanka, and India. With no warning, coastal populations were caught by the pounding waves. Many families that made their living fishing lost everything; whole communities were wiped out by the tsunami.
How can I help people affected by earthquakes and tsunamis?
Give: Donate to World Vision’s disaster relief fund to bring help when another disaster strikes.
Pray: Join us in praying for families as they recover and rebuild after earthquakes and other disasters: Almighty Father, we ask for Your caring mercy on people hard hit by natural disasters, including earthquakes and tsunamis. In the midst of their struggle to recover, give them patience, peace, and hope that their lives will continue to improve.
How did World Vision help people recover from the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami?
In response to the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami, World Vision mounted its largest-ever relief response across five countries simultaneously — Indonesia, Sri Lanka, Thailand, India, and Myanmar — and raised more than $350 million.
World Vision focused on the needs of children, families, and their communities, with programs to provide protection, healthcare, education, and livelihoods. We provided training and employment opportunities to 40,000 people, child-rights awareness sessions for more than 27,000 people, educational support for more than 2,000 teachers and 137,000 children, and implemented community-level disaster risk reduction programs.
World Vision built 12,000 homes, 200 Child-Friendly Spaces, 84 schools, 60 playgrounds, and 27 health clinics. We built roads, bridges, farms, factories, marketplaces, boat-building centers, and restored a fishing harbor. Our coastal restoration programs included planting 56,000 mangroves to serve as a natural barrier to rising ocean levels.
Most tsunami-related rehabilitation work was completed by 2007. Today, World Vision’s expansive child sponsorship, health, education, water, food, agriculture, and income-generating activities are found across each of the tsunami-affected countries.
How does World Vision help people prepare for disasters?
World Vision pre-positions relief supplies and trains staff for emergency work in areas like child protection, relief supply chain management, clean water provision, and more. In disaster-prone communities where we work, we organize programs to reduce risks from disasters and train local first responders.
In nearly 100 countries around the world, World Vision works to improve the lives of children and families and to help them prepare for and recover from disasters.
The Earth’s crust and the outer mantle layer beneath it are made up of seven massive plates and many smaller ones that fit together like puzzle pieces and are constantly moving above the molten core. When these tectonic plates slip over, under, or past each other at the fault lines where they meet, energy builds up and is released as an earthquake. Undersea earthquakes sometimes cause ocean waves called tsunamis.
As tectonic plates shift, the Earth’s landscape is reformed — creating mountains and volcanoes and redrawing coastlines.
As many as 500,000 earthquakes occur each year, and about 100,000 are large enough to be felt. Perhaps as many as 100 cause damage. Major earthquakes that measure magnitude 7 or greater happen somewhere on the earth about every month.
Timeline: History of earthquake and tsunami studies
132 — The first seismic measuring device is invented in China.
1566 — An earthquake in Shaanxi, China, kills 830,000 people.
1811 to 1812 — A series of three major earthquakes and numerous aftershocks near New Madrid, Missouri, were felt as far away as Boston and Denver.
1883 — In the Indonesian islands, the Krakatoa volcano explodes. Its lengthy effects include ash clouds that cover the globe and a massive tsunami.
1906 — About 700 people were killed in San Francisco, California, when an earthquake was followed by about 30 fires that raged for three days.
1933 — In Japan, the Sanriku earthquake and tsunami occur in a location that saw damaging quakes in 1896.
1935 — Charles Richter develops the Richter scale to measure earthquake size.
1960 — At magnitude 9.5, the 1960 Valdivia earthquake in Chile is the most powerful quake ever recorded.
1964 — The Alaska earthquake, at magnitude 9.2, is the second most powerful to date. The tsunami it generated caused damage as far away as Hawaii.
1965 — Plate tectonics is recognized as the theory that unifies current knowledge of earthquake science.
1989 — The Northridge quake in California causes $64 billion in losses.
2004 — A magnitude 9.1 earthquake off the coast of Sumatra created a massive tsunami, now known as the Indian Ocean tsunami, that caused damage in 14 countries. A global effort accelerates the development of a tsunami early warning system.
2011 — A magnitude 9.0 earthquake hits off the northeast coast of Japan’s Honshu island, generating a massive tsunami.
What is an earthquake, and why do earthquakes happen?
Earthquakes are disturbances at ground level and below caused by shifts and collisions of tectonic plates, the geologic structures that form the Earth’s outer layer. Friction between plates causes their edges to stick and build up energy even as the plates continue to move. That energy is released as an earthquake when the plates come unstuck and slip past each other. Earthquakes can happen anywhere at any time, but they most commonly occur on known fault lines such as the Pacific Ring of Fire.
A worldwide network of seismic stations measure the movement of the ground, from which seismologists can calculate the magnitude of the quake at its source. When a major quake occurs, the first calculations of magnitude are based on only a few seismic readings. Within days or weeks, the magnitude may be adjusted based on more exact measurements.
Intensity is another indicator of an earthquake’s strength. Based on an agreed scale of damage, Roman numerals are assigned to indicate the amount of shaking and damage in different locations.
Strong earthquakes can be extremely dangerous. The earth’s shaking may cause landslides or even rupture the surface of the ground. When saturated loose soils lose their stiffness and form, liquefaction occurs, and the ground collapses like a liquid. In a one-two punch, a tsunami may follow an undersea earthquake, bringing massive destruction to coastal zones.
Secondary effects of earthquakes can include a collapse of infrastructure, fires, and disease outbreaks. After the Haiti quake, a cholera outbreak spread quickly through the camps where people lived for months or even years. The 1906 San Francisco earthquake triggered a secondary hazard: Damaging fires ignited by ruptured gas mains burned for three days and destroyed about 500 blocks of the city. In more recent disasters, fires are also caused by downed power lines.
Pray: Join us in praying for World Vision staff and responders as they help families recover and rebuild after earthquakes and other disasters: Almighty Father, we ask for Your caring mercy on people hard hit by natural disasters, including earthquakes and tsunamis. Amid their struggle to recover, give them patience, peace, and hope that their lives will continue to improve.
A tsunami is a series of giant waves caused by an earthquake or underwater volcano that suddenly shifts the sea floor. Tsunamis can travel at 500 miles an hour — as fast as a jet plane — across the open ocean.
Tsunami waves slow down and pile up higher as they approach land. Both the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami and the 2011 Japan tsunami were more than 100 ft. tall when they reached shore.
Tsunamis and tidal waves are both sea waves, but they have different causes and characteristics. A tidal wave is a shallow water wave caused by the gravitational effects of the sun and moon on the earth. A tsunami is not influenced by the tides and may reach great heights as it comes thundering into shore.
How does World Vision help people affected by earthquakes and tsunamis?
World Vision pre-positions relief supplies and trains staff for emergency work in areas including child protection, relief supply chain management, and clean water provision. In disaster-prone communities, we organize programs to reduce risks from disasters and train local first responders.
In nearly 100 countries around the world, World Vision works to improve the lives of children and families and to help them prepare for and recover from disasters.
World Vision provided aid to survivors of these recent earthquakes and tsunamis:
2001 Bhuj, Gujarat, India earthquake — magnitude 7.9, 20,000 people died
2004 Indian Ocean earthquake and tsunami — magnitude 9.1; 220,000 people died
2005 Kashmir earthquake — magnitude 7.6, 73,000 people died
From monster storms and tsunamis to civil wars and droughts, natural disasters and man-made crises impact children, their families, and economies on a huge scale around the world each year.
“In 2018, the sheer scale of humanitarian need around the world was immense and growing,” says Lawren Sinnema, a program manager for World Vision. “The news cycle is so overwhelming that many people don’t learn about the worst crises happening around the world.”
But we believe there is hope. Jesus said, “With God all things are possible” (Matthew 19:26, NIV), and we at World Vision believe miracles happen in people’s lives despite these seemingly impossible circumstances.
As these seven of the worst disasters of 2018 show us, children and families around the world experienced tremendous pain and suffering this past year. But there remains a glimmer of light in each of them. Hope has not been snuffed out.
“It’s overwhelming,” Lawren says. “One reaction would be to throw our hands up. But as Christians, we can’t abandon children.”
Here you can learn about seven of the worst disasters of 2018 and how World Vision is helping people affected.
More than 730,000 people from Myanmar have fled to Bangladesh as refugees since Aug. 25, 2017, because of extreme violence in northern Rakhine state. More than half of the refugees are children, according to the U.N. Refugee Agency. They joined nearly 200,000 others who fled similar violence in the past. As the refugee population swelled in 2018, monsoon rains inundated many of the camps situated among the hills of Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh, making for difficult, precarious, and unsanitary living conditions.
Children and their families are living in unhealthy, dangerous conditions with limited access to basic services.
It’s dire for many but not hopeless.
Aid agencies are working together to provide life-saving aid to about 1.3 million people wrapped up in the crisis, including many Bangladeshis living in host communities. Since September 2017, generous donors and World Vision staff in Bangladesh have been able to help more than 264,000 refugees with supplies like shelter kits, food packages, hygiene kits, household supplies, and nutrition services for children and pregnant and breastfeeding women. Between August 2017 and August 2018, we also were able to construct 1,544 latrines and 83 deep tube wells, providing access to clean water and sanitation facilities for 154,000 people.
(Dec. 26, 2018) More than 400 people are reported dead after a tsunami struck western Java and southern Sumatra islands during the evening of Dec. 22. Indonesia’s geological and weather service says the tsunami was likely caused by undersea landslides in the Sunda Strait following an eruption by the Anak Krakatoa volcano. World Vision, which is simultaneously responding to earthquakes on Lombok island and Central Sulawesi, is assisting children and families in some of the worst-affected areas of Serang and Pandeglang districts on the west coast of Java’s Banten province.
Just three months earlier, a magnitude 7.5 earthquake struck Indonesia’s Central Sulawesi province, on Sept. 28, triggering a tsunami and landslides that caused widespread destruction and loss of life. More than 2,100 people are known to have died and more than 4,400 were seriously injured, according to the Indonesia disaster management agency. About 1.4 million people in Central Sulawesi were affected. With about 68,000 houses damaged or destroyed, hundreds of thousands of people became homeless or without adequate shelter.
The Central Sulawesi quake occurred less than two months after a series of earthquakes struck Indonesia’s Lombok island. The strongest of those quakes was a magnitude 6.9 temblor on Aug. 5. More than 500 people were killed, and nearly 1,500 were injured. About 220,000 people are still displaced.
As difficult as the situation is, humanitarian groups are bringing hope to survivors.
Soon after the 2018 earthquakes in both Lombok and Sulawesi, local World Vision staff, many of whom were affected by the quakes themselves, spurred into action. They distributed pre-positioned emergency supplies, including family household items, shelter kits, and hygiene supplies. A feeding center was quickly set up in World Vision’s office compound in Palu city, Central Sulawesi, to help mothers care for and feed their children. Our response is focused on child protection, educational programs for children, and providing clean water, sanitation, and hygiene.
Thousands of people have been helped with water and hygiene, food and infant feeding, household items including blankets and solar lanterns, and Child-Friendly Spaces where children can play and recover. In addition, World Vision is working to restore education opportunities by repairing and equipping schools and providing training in disaster risk reduction to prepare for the future.
The Syrian refugee crisis is internationally recognized as the largest refugee and displacement crisis of our time. Half of the people affected are children. Despite a relative decrease in hostilities nationwide in 2018, the Syrian civil war caused another nearly 160,000 people to flee the country as refugees. This was largely due to the conflict in the Idlib region. As of Nov. 12, the total number of refugees now sits at more than 5.6 million, according to the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR). About 6.2 million Syrians are displaced within the country. Those two figures amount to about 55 percent of Syria’s population.
“For humanitarian groups like World Vision, it is becoming increasing complex and dangerous to respond to conflicts around the world,” Lawren says. “In Syria, hospitals are bombed and humanitarian workers on the ground put their lives at risk every day.”
It’s a bleak picture, but aid groups and compassionate governments and donors continue to give the Syrian people reasons to hope.
At least 28 million people in East Africa — more than half of them children —needed humanitarian assistance in 2018. Millions of them are experiencing chronic hunger and the threat of famine. Conflict, recurring severe drought, and high food prices are to blame.
Another factor making the regional situation more difficult: inter-ethnic violence in southern Ethiopia.More than 800,000 people have fled their homes due to violence in south Ethiopia since April. They are in desperate need of food and other assistance.
But not all hope is lost. Between October 2017 and September 2018, World Vision staff in the region were able to reach more than 2.7 million people in Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, and South Sudan. Interventions include life-saving food, clean water and sanitation services, medical assistance, livelihood skills training, educational programs, essential relief supplies, and child-protection activities and programs.
In protracted crises like the East Africa hunger crisis, which is in its second year, it can be easy for people to lose hope about the situation, Lawren says. “However, as often is the case, children are the worst affected in these disasters. Yet they have nothing to do with the causes of disaster. When we respond, lives are saved, communities rebuilt, children go back to school. If we don’t support children, they are at risk of propagating future cycles of conflict and poverty.”
Since World Vision’s Kasai response began in August 2017, our staff have reached more than 535,000 people with life-saving humanitarian assistance. That includes nearly 460,000 people who received food and cash, more than 46,000 young children and vulnerable adults in 126 health centers who received treatment or prevention consults for malnutrition, more than 22,000 children who benefited from Child-Friendly Spaces, and almost 27,000 students who benefited from classroom repairs, back-to-school kits, teacher training, and school-fee scholarships. Our response to the complex situation in the DRC will continue into 2019.
The number of people leaving Venezuela amid a national economic crisis reached 3 million in 2018. As many as 3,000 people per day are crossing the border into Colombia. The exodus is driven by hyperinflation, violence, and food and medicine shortages stemming from recent years of political turmoil. More than 1 million people have settled in Colombia; more than 500,000 in Peru; and Ecuador, Chile, and Argentina are each hosting 100,000 Venezuelans or more. Brazil is also hosting about 85,000 Venezuelan refugees.
While the influx from Venezuela has caused tensions in host countries, it also has brought out their hospitable spirit. Peru, for example, has offered temporary residency permits, and its immigration service extended its Lima processing center hours to around-the-clock to accommodate the thousands of daily residency and work permit requests. They converted the lobby into a childcare space complete with books and toys donated by the officers themselves. And teachers volunteer to watch children while their parents stand in line and receive their documentation.
World Vision staff in countries throughout the Andean region began working in 2018 to address the needs of Venezuelan refugees. In Colombia, we are helping about 40,000 people with health, food, economic empowerment, and educational programming. In Ecuador, we provided hygiene kits and workshops in child protection and economic empowerment. Our staff in Peru is working to help about 56,000 Venezuelans with health, hygiene, and food services and prepaid cash cards to help them cover basic needs upon arrival in Peru. And in Brazil, our staff is working to provide Child-Friendly Spaces and help facilitate Venezuelans who are registering for documentation.
The conflict has killed more than 10,000 people and displaced nearly 3 million. One million people contracted cholera or watery diarrhea in the past year because half of the population lacks regular access to safe water and basic hygiene. People in the worst-affected areas have been starving to death because of near-famine conditions. As a result, 1.8 million children are suffering from malnutrition, including 400,000 who could die from lack of nutritious food.
The volatile security situation has made it extremely difficult for humanitarian agencies to get aid into the country. While we do not currently operate in Yemen, World Vision advocacy staff continue to work with U.N. and other agencies already in Yemen to support efforts to protect and care for children wrapped up in this crisis.
World Vision has helped impact millions of lives through transformational gifts from philanthropists — evidence of God’s faithfulness. Today, more families have access to clean water along with new hope for healthy futures. Parents are better equipped to earn incomes that meet their children’s basic needs. Children are protected and nurtured, while they are growing in their Christian faith. A new day is dawning for a generation of people.
In the last 20 years, the number of children dying from preventable causes — from hunger, poverty, and disease — has nearly halved, going from more than 30,000 a day to under 15,000. The number of people living in extreme poverty, those living on less than $1.90 a day, has dropped by more than 1 billion.
For the first time in modern history, the world is coming to the collective realization that it is possible to end extreme poverty in our lifetimes. And you can be part of it.
“I really get excited at phrases like ‘end poverty by 2030’ and ‘clean water everywhere we work,’” says Laura Abernathy, a World Vision donor partner. “Those big goals may sound like publicity, but when you learn about World Vision and the strategies they have in place, you have faith. I’d hate that to be the headline in the news and not have been part of it.”
Audacious ventures are challenging, but history shows we can succeed.
Together, we have impacted the lives of more than 200 million vulnerable children by tackling the root causes of poverty. From 2010 to 2015, World Vision’s first capital campaign raised nearly $538 million and reached nearly 26 million people. That’s more than 500 people every hour for five years.
Now, World Vision is the leading nongovernmental provider of clean water in the developing world. Every 60 seconds, a family gets access to clean water, a hungry child is fed, and a family receives the tools to overcome poverty.
This incredible success took significant transformational gifts from philanthropists, corporations, and foundations; hundreds of millions of dollars in government grants; more than 60 years of experience in sustainable global development; and scale — more than 42,000 staff working with communities worldwide in nearly 100 countries. Learn the stories of some of World Vision’s generous donor partners:
A 2017 Bridgespan study of 15 of the greatest social impact stories of the 20th century reveals the majority of initiatives took at least 20 years to achieve success and involved at least one philanthropic investment of $10 million or more.
“World Vision has the proven methods we know will help end extreme poverty in our lifetime, the community development model that allows these systemic social changes to last after we leave, and the scale to reach millions upon millions of people with this God-honoring work,” says Chris Glynn, senior vice president of Transformational Engagement at World Vision. “Large philanthropic gifts are the catalyst that drives us to achieve maximum impact.”
You + World Vision’s local staff = help, hope, and love to people in nearly 100 countries.
Results: Water projects from this investment are estimated to bring clean water to 200,000 people.
Check World Vision out, but don’t wait. The time is now. You won’t regret it. Whatever commitment you come up with is worthwhile. It’ll not only change the world but change you.—Betsy King, World Golf and LPGA Hall of Famer
Professional golf is a male-dominated sport, and for World Golf and LPGA Hall of Famer Betsy King, she can point to golf as the source of the only discrimination she has ever experienced. Growing up, she wasn’t allowed to play on the boys’ golf team. Then as a professional golfer, the money she made was only a fraction of what the men made for equal work.
Recognizing that her financial situation is much different from other women around the world, 62-year-old Betsy says, “I can understand the discrimination women experience. So it’s very important to me to help eliminate it.”
Based on this conviction, Betsy’s retirement from the LPGA tour was anything but a retirement. In August 2005 after 28 successful years and 34 tournament wins, including six major championships, she began a journey to create her own nonprofit, a journey culminating with a goal of raising $10 million over the next five years to help World Vision reach everyone, everywhere we work with clean drinking water by 2030.
After her first trip to Africa in 2006 with World Vision to see the impact of poverty and HIV and AIDS on women and girls, Betsy founded Golf Fore Africa in 2007 to link her passion for golf with her compassion for children. Over the next 10 years — with the help of an expanding network of advocates, volunteers, and staff — Golf Fore Africa raised more than $6 million, the majority of which has provided clean water to children and families in Africa. This work is helping to lessen the 200 million hours that women and girls spend daily walking for water for their families.
“The biggest impact I’ve seen is lives changed and livelihoods improved. Healthier children and healthier families,” Betsy says. “I’m pleased with the investment because from back when we first went in 2006 to now 2018, I’ve seen huge improvements. There’s still a lot of work to do, but I’ve seen extreme poverty getting closer to being eliminated. That’s really what we care about — impacting the lives of children.”
Walking alongside Betsy in this journey is Debbie Quesada, president and CEO of Golf Fore Africa, who traveled with Betsy on that first Africa trip to Rwanda, Kenya, Tanzania, and Zambia in 2006 and helped Betsy launch Golf Fore Africa.
“We were so impacted by what we saw,” says Debbie, 55. “We came back knowing we could do something.”
Betsy wholeheartedly agrees. She says, “We felt a responsibility. God doesn’t allow you to see something like that and then do nothing.”
Partnering with World Vision was an easy next step. Debbie grew up knowing about World Vision; her grandparents were child sponsors. Betsy had already been partnering with World Vision since 2001, and the pair had already worked together to run an online auction of memorabilia donated by professional golfers, with the proceeds benefiting World Vision.
Betsy and Debbie partnered with World Vision not only because of history, but also because of its scale, scope of work, holistic approach to community development, and emphasis on stewardship.
“World Vision is best at what they do,” Betsy says, “and they have a heart for what they do.”
Since 2001, Betsy and Debbie have each taken close to 20 trips to see World Vision’s work — to see “children given the opportunity to actually be children. To enjoy life in all its fullness. To play. To learn. To not have the burden of fetching water every day,” Debbie says.
They’ve seen the impact not only on children but on families as well.
“There’s dignity when you can provide for your family. It makes you feel good about yourself as a mother or father to be able to care for your children,” Debbie says. “As parents, to be able to give that to your children — it means so much. Then they start caring about their neighbors and their communities. So, it’s not a handout. It’s actually empowering them to care for the work that World Vision does. That holistic approach allows them to care for their families in the way that every parent wants to.”
Throughout their partnership, Betsy appreciates how “World Vision is willing to be critical of themselves and evaluate their work so they can constantly improve.”
In 2015, the University of North Carolina Water Institute announced the results of an independent study examining the key factors affecting the sustainability of water sources in rural Africa. The study found the odds of other organizations’ water sources being functional decreased by an average of 2 percent each year, whereas the functionality of water sources installed by World Vision did not significantly decrease with age.
World Vision is best at what they do, and they have a heart for what they do.—Betsy King, World Golf and LPGA Hall of Famer
“They’re willing to listen to donors and outside consultants about how to really do the work,” Debbie says. “That study done by the University of North Carolina is a great example of caring about going back and continuing to see what we can do to improve on this work.”
An identifiable water committee and evidence of charging a fee for use of the water were the main reasons associated with the continued functionality of the water points. In addition to these best practices, World Vision’s community engagement model also includes training local people as mechanics to repair pumps when they break down, contributing greatly to the longevity of World Vision-installed water points.
“We have been blessed to have committed partners who have made significant transformational investments in our work, allowing us to leverage our unparalleled worldwide reach for its highest and best use,” says Chris Glynn, senior vice president of Transformational Engagement at World Vision. “For example, their support has helped enable us to scale our clean water projects from reaching 200,000 people every year to more than 3 million annually, now reaching one new person every 10 seconds.”
Betsy calls their relationship with World Vision and the progress toward reaching everyone, everywhere we work with clean water as “invigorating.”
“I love the excitement involved with the goal of bringing clean water to everyone in the world,” she says.
Betsy and Debbie realize how World Vision truly expands the reach of Golf Fore Africa.
“What World Vision does that’s really awesome is they invite people to come along with them on a journey,” Debbie says. “So, to be invited on this journey, whether it be on a Vision Trip [to see World Vision’s work] or to partner with them on a water project or an economic opportunity, you’re invited in to do something that you could never do on your own. And to be part of something that’s so big, it’s bigger than yourself. We don’t have a lot of opportunities like that in our lifetime. It’s magical to get to do something like that.”
Results: After implementing a little more than half of their investment, nearly $5.3 million, in Malawi:
7,856 smallholder farmers have improved their agricultural practices using improved seeds, crop storage, and increasing their yield per hectare.
13,418 participants have access to financial services through savings groups and/or microfinance.
9,461 smallholder farmers have increased their produce sales prices by accessing local and regional markets.
39,045 hectares have been planted with new trees and/or regenerated.
1,920 smallholder farmers are receiving early warning information to prepare them for natural events (drought or flooding) or market price fluctuations.
6,000 participants have received empowered worldview training.
Start with the foundation of prayer. Do your research. Ask God for guidance. And if called to this work, contribute in every way you can: time, talent, and treasure. But when conflict arises between your analysis and the heart God calls you to apply, always go with your heart.—Stu Phillips, retired chairman of the board and principal owner of a neurological rehabilitation center
In 2010, when rereading The Hole in Our Gospel while spending time at Moriah Ranch, his family’s 14,000-acre vacation getaway in Wyoming, Stu Phillips heard God ask him what possession he valued most. Looking at his surroundings, he instantly knew the answer — Moriah Ranch.
Empowering people to care for themselves and advocating on behalf of the vulnerable have been lifelong passions for Robin and Stu Phillips. They describe the blessings God has provided them as numerous, extraordinarily powerful, and, as they have discovered, requiring obedience.
“God had gone out of his way to make it clear from the beginning of our business that he was the one who was enabling us to proceed, grow, and thrive,” says Stu, 65. “So because of his intervention early on and his engagement after that, he had prepared us for the time when he was going to ask for those resources to be used in a different way. He’s an amazing God.”
Now, God was calling them to sell their most prized possession to become more actively involved in what they believe is the greatest systemic social issue of our time — extreme poverty.
“As a businessperson, you tend to approach things analytically, as an intellectual process,” Stu says. “God isn’t impressed with your intellect. He breaks your heart. From there, he uses the strengths you have to fulfill his purposes. And God made it clear he wanted me to use the resources he had provided.”
At first, Stu and Robin questioned the validity of the call. They tried negotiating with God, reasoning — among other things — that the ranch was a legacy for their sons, but none of the excuses offered any comfort.
“We only had [Moriah] because he had provided the resources,” Stu says. “So, if God wanted it for his purposes now, it is our responsibility to provide it.”
“We’re ordinary people who are being obedient to what God has asked us to do,” says Robin, 64. “People talk about our gift as sacrificial. And in some sense, it was sacrificial because it involved taking something away from our children that we had implied to them would be theirs when we were gone. That part was difficult.”
However, over the following years, they’ve watched God work in mysterious ways to honor their obedience — both in their lives and in the lives of people who have heard their story.
“Recently, we met a Rwandan woman farmer at a project site we had funded,” Robin says. “She told us that in the past, she had not been able to feed her children a meal every day or pay school fees among other challenges. But then she told us about participating in World Vision’s economic empowerment work. She said, ‘I thank God, World Vision, and this project because with what I have been taught, and what I know now, I am not in poverty anymore, … and I will never go back!’ That mother is now an empowered woman who is fulfilling her God-given role as her children’s mother with knowledge, confidence, and joy.”
A deeply personal moment for them occurred while visiting Tanzania to see the impact of their transformational investment. Robin and Stu found places where they looked around and if they didn’t know better, they would have thought they were back at Moriah.
“One of the first times we were in Tanzania,” Robin says, “we’re literally on a different continent, but there are certain places that when we saw them, we just looked at each other and smiled. It’s surprisingly so like Wyoming! It feels to us, that Moriah Ranch is in some strange way here in Tanzania. To us, it was a unique confirmation from God.”
It was another gift from God — from the aromatic vegetation that reminded them of sage to the similarity between elk and kudu. No one but them at the time understood the significance of what they were seeing.
“Those are grace gifts only God can provide,” Stu says, explaining that God’s economy is far different from ours. “Nobody puts that on a spreadsheet.”
Robin says that it doesn’t get any better than seeing the faces of the children Moriah’s proceeds were helping.
“[God] asked me to surrender something great in order to receive something greater,” Stu says. “He wanted to remind me that there is no vista, no place, no possession more beautiful than the face of a child.”
When one of their sons later traveled with them to Rwanda, Robin remembers he said, “I finally get it. I know why you wanted to do this. I thought my legacy was always going to be the ranch. But now I see that the children of Africa and these people, this is the legacy for our family.”
Longtime sponsors of several children, Robin and Stu are also members of World Vision’s National Leadership Council — a core group of passionate and influential donor partners.
[God] asked me to surrender something great in order to receive something greater. He wanted to remind me that there is no vista, no place, no possession more beautiful than the face of a child.—Stu Phillips, retired chairman of the board and principal owner of a neurological rehabilitation center
“For me, World Vision and seeking to eliminate extreme poverty was a calling,” Stu says. “When that happens, you’re confronted with a fundamental decision. Are you going to listen and obey God, try to ignore him, or try to substitute your own plan? Ignoring God is like all our sins; it limits what God can do in us and through us. As to our plans versus God’s plans, God’s plans are always better. Fundamentally, there is no greater purpose, no greater honor, and no greater joy than to know that God is actively using you to fulfill his purposes.”
Their investment of time and treasure toward World Vision’s economic empowerment work has supported the development and expansion of THRIVE — Transforming Household Resilience in Vulnerable Environments — a program that focuses on family-level change and is proven to dramatically increase household incomes, resulting in stronger and more self-sufficient families.
“The potential scale of your impact isn’t regional. It’s not even national. It’s global,” Stu says. “When, as a donor, you’re looking at return on investment and social impact, scalability is one of the things you have to consider. World Vision is the premier Christian organization serving the poor, and it is unique in its willingness to not only use our financial assets but our time and our talent as active partners in the process.”
One aspect of THRIVE that Robin and Stu are particularly excited about is the foundation of a biblically empowered worldview, based on the understanding that each person is created in the image of a loving and redeeming God, is accountable for their actions, and has the power to shape their own future. That is the first and most critical transformational step in eliminating extreme poverty.
“God doesn’t ever ask us to give more than we can give or to give something we don’t have,” Stu says. “Because we’ve been blessed the way we have, we have greater responsibility to demonstrate our appreciation for the blessings he’s shown us.”
Help build improved and resilient livelihoods for smallholder farmers and their families.
Results: Their $5 million investment (impact of new $1 million pledge is pending based on upcoming programmatic decisions) will help provide healthcare and nutrition services for nearly 500,000 women and children in Somalia, Uganda, and Zambia. It will also contribute to:
Training and equipping more than 4,700 community health workers and volunteers to provide care and education to children and pregnant women who may otherwise not have access to healthcare
Equipping 600 faith leaders as advocates and educators for improving mother and child health in their communities
Supporting 34 clinics in Uganda with nurse and midwife training, delivery kits, hand-washing equipment, and improved conditions for safe delivery
Launching a new program, BabyWASH, in 10 facilities in Uganda and Zambia; includes renovations of maternity wards, medical equipment and supplies, piped clean water to delivery rooms and postnatal areas, toilets, and other sanitation improvements
It never says in the Bible to care for the least of these only if you get a good return on your investment, but you do want to know that your money is being utilized in the most efficient way possible to help the least of these. And World Vision does that.—Robert Abernathy, retired healthcare CEO
Laura and Robert Abernathy had no idea what God had in store for them when their neighborhood Bible study read The Hole in Our Gospel by World Vision U.S. President Emeritus Rich Stearns. A little more than five years later, as they reflect on that time, Laura, 61, says, “It really touched our hearts. Both Robert and I have been Christians since we were children and been involved in mission projects, mission programs, our churches, and other organizations. But we were convicted that we were not really touching the least of these.”
Within six months of that deep conviction from the Holy Spirit, Laura and Robert joined World Vision’s National Leadership Council and made their first transformational philanthropic gift to World Vision.
“We were all-in,” says Robert, 63, a former senior vice president at Kimberly-Clark Corporation and most recently the retired CEO of Halyard Health Inc.
In their excitement, Laura and Robert told their adult children, Elizabeth and James, about World Vision and its child sponsorship programs. They were surprised to find out that both of them had sponsored children already.
“We now sponsor two little girls. We chose them — it’s so hard to choose — because they have the same birthdays as our two little granddaughters,” Laura says. “We pray for our sponsored children as we pray for our granddaughters. And we celebrate their lives as we do our granddaughters.”
But that transition to becoming all-in came with due diligence.
“We’ve seen a lot of organizations have bold visions,” Robert says. “And then when you dig a little deeper, they’re under-resourced, or they can’t get the job done.”
What were they looking for? A Christian-based organization.
“Our giving is all about faith,” Laura says. “It’s not ours to begin with. Robert’s been blessed. We’ve been blessed.”
Robert says they clearly saw World Vision was Christian-based from the start.
“You don’t have to read much further than the first 10 lines of The Hole in Our Gospel to know,” Robert says. “You see it in the people you meet, the staff members. It’s written into the mission and vision of the organization.”
Next came a closer look at World Vision’s finances to make sure they felt good about how their investment would be utilized.
“I wanted to know how much money actually gets to the poor,” Robert says. “I’ve seen organizations where less than 20 percent gets to where it’s supposed to go. And I’ve seen organizations that say they give 96 percent, and then you dig through it, and it’s really more like 46 percent; they count the money funny.”
“Once you really get into World Vision and understand it at a deeper level, you start to understand the multiplying effect,” Robert says. “World Vision is able to take your gift and then leverage it with corporations, foundations, and government grants. They really can multiply your gift many times, and not many organizations are able to do that. You don’t feel like what you give is just a one-time investment. It feels bigger.”
Laura adds, “We are told not to bury our talents, but to multiply them.”
Financially speaking, World Vision also helps round out their investment portfolio.
“It helps fulfill the rest of the picture for us,” Robert says. “We’re involved in our local community. We’re involved in our church. World Vision is the organization that allows us to connect in a Christ-like way to the world.”
Lastly, they looked for the ability to get results using winning strategies. World Vision’s proven, community-based health approaches aimed at the first 1,000 days of life feature basic health interventions for mothers and babies, including a sharp focus on nutrition (the 7-11 model) and the delivery of timed and targeted counseling and education through local volunteer community health workers who are trained and supported by World Vision.
We are so fortunate that World Vision is an organization that desires to partner with donors. It’s one of the few places where you can give money and be part of what your money’s doing.—Laura Abernathy, retired nurse
Over the last five years, 89 percent of the severely malnourished children World Vision treated made a full recovery — far above the industry standard of 75 percent or greater. In addition, World Vision supports one of the largest community health worker networks in the world, with more than 220,000 in over 48 countries who can reach 66 million people. They are trusted by the community and are able to reach remote villages, delivering frontline care cost-effectively.
“When we decided to give [to World Vision], we knew of terrible, terrible situations that were in desperate need of help,” Laura says. “So, there was no need to wait.”
Over the span of Robert’s corporate career, their family moved 17 times, at one point living overseas in Australia. Robert has traveled to more than 130 countries and with each trip has brought back stories of desperate situations to his family.
To see World Vision’s work in action, Laura and Robert have traveled to Zambia and Uganda.
“You see the quality of the World Vision staff in country and the number of community volunteers who are supporting that,” Robert says. “You come away saying, ‘I can see change happening — not continent by continent all at once, but community by community over time.’”
They’ve not only seen World Vision’s work in mother and child health, but also clean water, economic empowerment, education, child protection, Christian discipleship, and ultimately, how those sectors work together to form a holistic community development model.
“They’re so interrelated,” Laura says. “I visited several health clinics that were without electricity. And then I was able to go back three years later and see the difference — see a facility with clean water, electricity, and solar power.
“One nurse midwife — instead of being on-call 24 hours a day, seven days a week — has a staff and can actually sleep at night on occasion. Then to hear how malaria rates have gone down to almost zero. HIV and AIDS have been greatly reduced. To hear those very distinct measurements, it wasn’t just looking better; it was measurably better.”
Since Robert’s retirement mid-2017, Laura says they “have the time to do more and want to do more.”
And they have — Robert recently joined the World Vision U.S. board of directors. He describes their relationship with World Vision as spiritual, rewarding, and challenging.
“You don’t increase your commitment if you’re dissatisfied,” Robert says.
And they’re thankful for the partnership World Vision has offered to them.
“We are so fortunate that World Vision is an organization that desires to partner with donors,” Laura says. “It’s one of the few places where you can give money and be part of what your money’s doing.”
Help eliminate preventable deaths among mothers and children.
Results: Over the past three years, their investment has helped 21,926 Syrian refugees and displaced people and 28,232 people affected by the East Africa hunger crisis.
Do your due diligence like we did. Meet the people. Look at the numbers. Do the math. You’ll find that this is a very, very good place to invest your charitable dollars.—Dan F., financial industry
Over the past 15 years, Dan F. has gradually become well acquainted with World Vision’s work and staff by investing in multiple community development sectors, including economic empowerment and water, sanitation, and hygiene. That gradual relationship has coincided with becoming more and more confident in World Vision.
“When you see the numbers line up and then you are impressed by the quality of World Vision’s staff, it’s pretty easy to pull the trigger on some larger investments,” says Dan, now 40. “I am confident that our money is being put to good use and is making a significant difference in people’s lives.”
On a trip to Zambia in 2010, Dan not only visited a well he’d paid for but also met the community members who are benefiting from the water project. He saw how World Vision partners with communities for sustainable change.
“The community members I met in Zambia take tremendous pride in their new well because they are actively engaged in the full process of planning, implementation, and maintenance,” Dan says. “Instead of treating people like helpless victims, World Vision invests in them, trains them, and builds up their capacity to continue driving their lives forward. They are the protagonist of the stories, and we are the supporting cast who helped them achieve their goals. It is amazing to see.”
Halfway through his journey with World Vision, he met his wife, Aimee. She says that being involved with World Vision is so important to Dan, and she has learned more and more about the organization through him.
“I soon became just as impressed with World Vision and the good work they do as Dan is,” says Aimee.
Before 2015, the vast majority of Dan and Aimee’s generous donations were allocated to long-term community development projects in stable countries. That all changed right after their first child’s birth — when they first learned about the Syrian refugee crisis.
“I found myself spending a lot of time glued to the news coverage, cradling our newborn, and crying over the stories and images I was seeing,” Aimee says. “Dan and I agreed to focus as much giving as we could to support World Vision’s aid efforts in the region. It was the first time I’d ever felt that I wasn’t completely powerless to help people so far away who are suffering in such a dire situation.”
World Vision has been working in the Middle East for nearly 40 years and extended a helping hand to Syrian families beginning in 2011 when the Syria civil war began.
“World Vision is equipped to help in ways we never could, and our support, combined with many others, is making this possible,” Aimee says.
Dan and Aimee have continued to serve the most vulnerable in their hour of greatest need. They now allocate a large portion of their family’s charitable investment portfolio to World Vision’s work in emergency relief and fragile contexts — where extreme poverty stubbornly resists solutions, but also where they recognize a dollar can have a “radical impact.”
Dan explains, “It’s riskier giving money to places like Syria or South Sudan, but there is so much suffering and so little help. I think of it as a high-risk, high-reward investment, but a short-term focus. It’s a very different mentality than I started off with WASH (water, sanitation, and hygiene).”
You can give to the amateurs, or you can give to the people that have been really perfecting this for the last [nearly] 70 years. World Vision is a very impressive team that takes a scientific approach.—Dan F., financial industry
With his background in the financial industry, Dan equates work in emergency relief and fragile states as credit card debt the world needs to pay off and community development work as the long-term investment portfolio.
“You need to pay off your credit card balance each month while building your long-term investment portfolio,” Dan says. “In the last couple of years, the magnitude of short-term needs has been so startling. Every dollar you can put in — it’s going to alleviate a tremendous amount of suffering today and help prevent a situation that’s already really bad from spiraling into something much, much worse.”
In the past decade, the number of people affected by emergencies has almost doubled, and this number is expected to keep rising. World Vision is uniquely situated to respond to any disaster or humanitarian emergency — anywhere in the world — from immediate life-saving supplies when disaster strikes to long-term recovery work so people can rebuild their lives.
“You can give to the amateurs, or you can give to the people that have been really perfecting this for the last [nearly] 70 years,” Dan says. “World Vision is a very impressive team that takes a scientific approach.”
In 2017 alone, World Vision staff around the world, 95 percent of whom work in their home region, responded to 170 emergencies and assisted approximately 13.8 million people in 56 countries.
“From the crisis relief standpoint,” Dan says, “it makes a really big difference to me that when something goes wrong somewhere in the world, whether it’s a hurricane or war or famine, it seems like a lot of organizations fly in and try to help, but World Vision is usually already there, and they’ve already been there for decades.”
Dan and Aimee see their investment as an opportunity to live out the radical message of Jesus by helping people in the most desperate situations.
“Probably the best way to introduce people to Christ is by living out compassion,” Dan says. “There are a lot of people in the world right now who are very turned off by Christians. They have good reason to be. But when we go out and we really try to minister to the least of these — the people that are on God’s heart — we’re showing people an image of God that’s a lot more accurate than the image they’re seeing in the media.”
Overall, Dan and Aimee are focused on making sure everything they invest in is a cause they really believe in. They say they feel a God-given responsibility to be part of God’s kingdom in terms of alleviating suffering throughout the world and a high accountability for how they do so.
“We’ve come to our current charitable portfolio by really thinking about where our dollars should go first and then thinking about the most trustworthy institution to be tasked with deploying these dollars,” Dan says. “We take stewardship very seriously. World Vision is the largest charity in our philanthropic portfolio because we view it, based on our due diligence, to be a very high-quality organization.”
Meet urgent needs of the world’s most vulnerable children.
Results: In less than a year, 3,000 people in the Jamastran Valley of Honduras now have clean water. Their gift is expected to support another 34,000 people with clean water.
Our partnership with World Vision is incrementally strategic — growing in strategy, trust, and direct involvement. We’re trying to figure out how can we leverage more and more of what we’re doing as a business to make an impact globally with World Vision.—Cody Nath, president and CEO of Refined Technologies Inc.
Cody Nath, 37, can’t remember a time growing up when his family didn’t have World Vision sponsored children — often two or three at a time. Then at age 14, he traveled with his father, Bill Nath, to Mexico to see World Vision’s work at the time with children living on the streets. Nicaragua came next, then Honduras, and with each trip, the values his parents instilled in him — the importance of missions, prayer, and faithful giving — became ingrained.
In 2001, Bill founded Refined Technologies Inc., a chemical decontamination company providing operational consultancy, chemical cleaning, and mechanical rental services to refineries. Cody succeeded his father as president and CEO in 2016. From the beginning, their mission statement leads with, “Honor God always.” Cody explains that this means everything from operating under biblical principles like honesty, integrity, and respect to reinvesting profits for eternal impact into ministry partners like World Vision.
“We believe our company belongs to God, and we are simply stewards,” Cody says. “We’re responsible to him for how we use the profits from the business. And as Christians, we know we’re called to give.
Beyond the calling, Cody finds the opportunity to give extremely rewarding. “It blesses us,” he says. “We end up benefiting because we’re now giving as a team instead of giving as a family — that’s a very rewarding experience. The Nath family is only a piece of this; we earned these profits as a Refined Technologies team.
“I also want to encourage our team to give and know that they’re part of something much bigger than refinery services. And I know that’s happening because of the stories I hear from our team. When people come to work for us because of what we’re about, then I know it’s making a difference.”
For Cody, it’s not about work-life balance; it’s all about work-life integration, focusing on incorporating your philanthropic values into your job.
Cody’s vision is to engage RTI employees by providing numerous ways for them to participate in the partnership with World Vision and emphasizing how excellent work enables the partnership — employees delivering their daily work translates to dollars for water. Opportunities for employees to get involved include paying a portion of sponsorship for Honduran children, taking brief RTI-sponsored trips to Honduras to see World Vision’s work toward ending the water crisis, distributing co-branded water bottles to clients and partners to share their commitment to help make a difference, and walking in World Vision’s annual Global 6K for Water.
“When people know that what you do matters, it’s not just a job. That changes lives,” Cody says. “Our employees would say they’re different people from having worked and spent time here. And their families are different. World Vision is part of that. It’s an aspect of what we do to try and be our whole selves at work.”
During a trip to Honduras about five years ago, solving the global water crisis became a personal mission for Cody. Confronted with the reality of a community’s water source in western Honduras near Gracias, Cody saw dirty water like he’d never seen before — dirt-ridden suds had left a thick film on the surface. “It was terrible — like all the horrible photos you’ve seen,” Cody says. “If it’s within your power, you’re not going to walk away without doing something to help.”
So Cody integrated his personal mission with his work at RTI. Over the past five years, Cody broadened his investment to water, sanitation, and hygiene projects, culminating in a $1.1 million gift to World Vision made in 2017.
“Like any relationship, the level of investment grows over time,” Cody says. “Trust grows over time, and results are a big piece of it. You can see the results, which gives us confidence in our investment.”
Generous philanthropic gifts like that from Cody and RTI have enabled World Vision to reach 10.4 million people with clean water in the last two and a half years and remain on track to reach everyone, everywhere we work with clean water by 2030 — an estimated 50 million people. World Vision is a proven leader in solving the global water crisis, reaching one new person every 10 seconds.
“What I really like about World Vision, and why we’ve gotten more involved, is the holistic approach,” Cody says. “This is a development model that helps people develop physically, emotionally, and spiritually. World Vision launches an effort and lets the community drive it forward as their own.”
World Vision believes in a big-picture approach to helping communities address critical needs — bringing together all of the pieces — nutritious food, clean water, economic opportunities, healthcare, education, protection, and the love of Jesus — for a full solution to the puzzle of poverty.
“World Vision is a place where you can make a significant financial investment,” Cody says. “No investment is too big. They have the structure and organization to effectively use your gifts as they grow over time.
“World Vision has the organizational capacity to execute investments to scale and always with a spiritual, Christ-centered focus. If you don’t have a spiritual component, it’s helpful, but not life-changing.”
“Being part of a visibly transformative project that can happen in under a year to dramatically change the lives of people — it’s not a difficult concept to say we should do more of that,” he says. “So then we ask ourselves, ‘How can we increase our giving as a company and as individuals?’”
World Vision has the organizational capacity to execute investments to scale and always with a spiritual, Christ-centered focus. If you don’t have a spiritual component, it’s helpful, but not life-changing.—Cody Nath, president and CEO of Refined Technologies Inc.
He also recognizes that the project was not without its learnings and challenges.
“World Vision does a good job of managing, ‘This is what we said we were going to do. This is what the challenges were, and this is what we accomplished,’” Cody says. “It’s not like everything goes smoothly. We’re dealing with developing countries and clean water projects that have never existed before. So there’s learnings; there’s challenges.”
But beyond challenges, he has confidence in the sustainability of World Vision’s water projects. “When we spend an investment on a project like Jamastran, I feel very confident the project will still be helping people in 20 years,” Cody says. “They now have clean water for life, not clean water for a year. Our confidence in the local World Vision team is very high due to their capabilities, character, and commitment.”
Now he’s looking forward to additional development work for the families and children he has come to know.
“We know that when we invest in water with World Vision, that’s going to lead to additional community development,” Cody says. “We didn’t leave Jamastran in January thinking, ‘Great, we’re done.’ We know the local communities are committed to continued development and the many challenges that lie ahead. We also realize there are many more communities in need of getting started on their development journey, and we’re eager to be involved. We look forward to an enduring partnership with World Vision and seeing families changed in Jesus’ name.”
David is an aviation consultant and the retired Chief Operating Officer for the Federal Aviation Administration. His previous roles include serving as the FAA’s chief counsel and as the senior vice president of customer experience for Continental Airlines. In addition, he also spent a term working for the U.S. Department of State in Kabul, Afghanistan, as attaché, senior advisor, and coordinator for transportation and infrastructure. He is a graduate of Harvard College and Harvard Law School. David and his wife, Anne, are part of World Vision’s National Leadership Council. They live in Washington, D.C. and have three sons and seven grandchildren.
When it comes to supporting charitable enterprises, I tell people that I’ve never made a single donation, but I’ve made lots of investments. Investors want to see a return. Stories can be moving and put a personal face on need, but data is critical. Good intentions aren’t enough. I want efficacy. It is because of the unique product that World Vision offers that Anne and I overweight our investments in this organization.
World Vision is holistic. They offer a multi-faceted approach to reducing poverty and its brutal effects on children, families, and entire communities. As a result, they’re more effective than most other organizations working in the field, which only work on one or two causes and cannot address the complex puzzle of poverty.
They’re collaborative. Some organizations aren’t interested in partnerships — they tend to dictate to the communities they’ve come to help. In contrast, when World Vision comes into a new place, they work alongside community members to bring about sustainable, long-lasting change. This inclusive approach sets World Vision apart.
Few other organizations have the history, experience, or sheer size of World Vision. They’re big and their roots run deep. All around the world they have access, reliability, and credibility. They’re a trusted partner with local communities, national governments, and global partners. An example of this is World Vision’s work in the most fragile of places, like Syria, where other NGOs have a hard time going. World Vision can be transformative there because they’ve been transforming for nearly 70 years, committed to learning and growing and adapting. I’m living proof that being big and old is not necessarily a good thing, but World Vision uses those two attributes to tremendous advantage throughout the world.
Most importantly, World Vision is Word-of-God–empowered. They’re reliant upon God’s word, employing a biblically empowered worldview. God calls us to be good stewards — to take personal responsibility for our assets, talents, family, and community. If you care about serving the poor in the name of Jesus and you want to see comprehensive work crafted on biblical principles, World Vision may be your only alternative.
Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable — if anything is excellent or praiseworthy — think about such things.—Philippians 4:8 (NIV)
There are opportunities for all types of investors, no matter your passion or risk tolerance. World Vision offers low-risk “blue chip” programs like drilling wells for more cautious donors, and venture capital investments like THRIVE for the more entrepreneurial. There are also options for return periods — from flash returns like water and emergency relief to long-term projects in economic empowerment and education, where results build over time for powerful and lasting change.
World Vision is also unique because of its significant absorption capacity. They make it easy for major donors to make the larger contributions that stewardship often demands of those of us who have been blessed with great means. Few organizations outside of universities or hospitals are equipped to accept and utilize substantial donations effectively. No other operating organization focused on eliminating poverty has the absorption capacity of World Vision.
What’s holding you back? Fear of Better Options (FOBO)? Some investors may be waiting to give, thinking they might discover a more efficient mechanism out there for the work World Vision is doing. It’s conceivable that you might find one, down the line. But right now, there’s a child dying every five seconds — most often from causes we can help prevent. The good news is that God is not sitting still. He is doing deals right now that you should want to be part of. But keep in mind, once a well has been drilled or a program has been launched, that IPO is closed. Rather than FOBO, you ought to be suffering from FOMO — Fear of Missing Out.
World Vision belongs in every charitable portfolio. We can’t ignore Jesus’ example or the incredible work being done by Bill and Melinda Gates — poverty reduction must be a high priority for all of us and good stewardship demands significant investments. The weighting in different portfolios will depend on each investor’s passions, time frame, and capacity. But the simple truth is this: donors — especially high net worth individuals — need to strongly consider graduating to World Vision. My hope is that right now, when you look at where you are in your lives, and when you look at eternity, you’ll discern the right place for World Vision in your investment portfolio.
You + World Vision’s local staff = help, hope, and love to people in nearly 100 countries.
Hurricane Michael made landfall near Mexico Beach on the Florida Panhandle as a Category 4 storm early Wednesday afternoon, Oct. 10, 2018. The storm’s heavy rain, high winds, and extreme storm surges caused massive destruction in its path and spawned numerous tornadoes. Hurricane Michael was the first Category 4 storm in recorded history to make landfall in the northeast Gulf Coast.
So far, 35 deaths have been attributed to Hurricane Michael. Scores of people are still missing in the hardest-hit areas. Communities from the Florida Panhandle through Georgia to the Carolinas and Virginia are still cleaning up, clearing debris, and taking stock of destroyed and damaged buildings as well as downed trees and power lines.
“My car … my house … my whole life is totaled,” says Michelle, who lives in Panama City, Florida. She spoke with Nate Youngblood, one of World Vision’s domestic disaster response staff members. Nate is in the Gulf Coast region to coordinate shipments of supplies to local churches so they can distribute clean-up kits, hygiene supplies, and other needed items.
“It’s terrible man. I don’t know how to explain it. No businesses are open. People are just doing what they can do,” says Pastor Chris Washington of Beacon Light Community Church in Panama City. He and a group of volunteers distributed relief supplies to about 300 people Oct. 18 at the church. “This is going to be a long recovery here.”
The tropical storm that became Hurricane Michael began in the Caribbean Sea. The National Hurricane Center began tracking the storm Oct. 2, 2018. As it spun northeast past Honduras, southeastern Mexico, and western Cuba, the storm became stronger, causing 13 deaths in Central America.
Tracking north through the Gulf of Mexico, Hurricane Michael’s route was well predicted; its intensity was not. Hurricane Michael did not weaken as expected as it skirted Florida’s west coast. Instead, it accelerated to a Category 4 storm, making quick time toward the Florida Panhandle.
As Michael slammed the coastline on Wednesday afternoon, Oct. 10, its 155-mph winds pushed the threshold of a Category 5 storm. National Weather Service Director Louis Uccellini called it “a worst-case scenario for the Florida Panhandle.”
Where and when did Hurricane Michael make landfall?
Hurricane Michael made landfall in the Florida Panhandle early Wednesday afternoon, Oct. 10, with a direct hit on Mexico Beach, a small sport-fishing coastal town with fewer than 1,200 permanent residents — a third of them aged 65 or older. It had mostly concrete block homes and small vacation cottages that are now nearly wiped off the map.
Hurricane Michael left immense destruction in its wake. The storm surge buckled roads and washed out foundations, high winds and rain-soaked ground caused roofs, trees, and power poles and lines to fall. Initial estimates of property damage are in excess of $4.5 billion. Damage estimates to Florida’s forestland are currently at $3 billion.
How long will it take the Florida Panhandle to recover?
It’s too soon to tell the cost and timetable for recovery and rebuilding. The view to the future and the challenges ahead are still being determined, officials say, but in worst-hit areas, it will be years rather than months before life will be back to normal.
When was the Florida Panhandle last hit by a hurricane?
Hurricane Hermine came ashore in September 2016 as a Category 1 hurricane, ending a 10-year span without a hurricane landfall. The most recent major hurricane was Category 3 Dennis, which made landfall in 2005 with 120-mph winds. Dennis joined a rogue’s gallery of memorable storms that did massive damage to coastal areas, including:
How is World Vision responding to Hurricane Michael?
Four semitrailers of World Vision relief supplies were sent to the Florida Panhandle as soon as roads were cleared. They are being distributed by local partners in Pensacola, Panama City, Panama City Beach, and Mexico Beach.
Each load transports enough supplies to serve up to 1,500 people with relief items that include food, clean water, coolers, hygiene supplies, diapers, cleaning supplies, bedding and inflatable beds, as well as temporary shelter items such as tents, tarps, and canopies.
In Albany, in a hard-hit area of southwest Georgia, long-term World Vision partners are distributing pre-positioned relief goods, and more supplies are on the way.
How can I help people affected by Hurricane Michael?
Pray: Please join us in prayer for people affected by Hurricane Michael. Almighty Father, we ask for Your care and protection for people who have suffered losses because of this devastating storm. Uphold them with Your mighty arm as they face the challenging days ahead. We ask you also to equip and encourage those who provide relief and assistance now that the storm has passed. Strengthen the minds and bodies of first responders for the days ahead.
Give: Your gift will help World Vision supply relief that’s urgently needed by people whose lives have been devastated by Hurricane Michael.
Hurricane Sandy was the deadliest hurricane of 2012 and one of the most destructive hurricanes in history to hit the United States. Toward the end of October 2012, Hurricane Sandy plowed through the Caribbean — killing 75 people before heading north. As it approached the East Coast, it produced the highest waves ever recorded in the western Atlantic, causing devastating storm surge and floods throughout coastal New York and New Jersey. At one point, Sandy engulfed a swath of 800 miles between the East Coast and the Great Lakes region.
October 22, 2012: Sandy begins as a tropical storm in the Caribbean Sea.
October 24, 2012: Sandy develops into a Category 1 hurricane and hits Jamaica with winds of 80 mph.
October 25, 2012: Hurricane Sandy makes landfall in Cuba as a Category 2 hurricane with 105 mph winds, then travels to Haiti and the Bahamas, killing 54 people in Haiti, 11 people in the Dominican Republic, and two people in the Bahamas.
October 26 to 27, 2012: Hurricane Sandy alternates between a Category 1 hurricane and a tropical storm, then returns to a Category 1 hurricane.
October 28, 2012: Still a Category 1, Hurricane Sandy moves parallel to Georgia, South Carolina, and North Carolina.
October 29, 2012: Hurricane Sandy approaches the East Coast of the United States as a Category 2, then weakens to a post-tropical cyclone.
12:30 p.m.: Sandy brings high winds and drenching rain from Washington, D.C., northward.
8 p.m.: Sandy comes ashore near Atlantic City, New Jersey, with hurricane-force winds of 90 mph. In combination with a full moon and high tide, a 14-foot wave surge in New York Harbor tops the seawall in lower Manhattan and floods parts of New York’s subway system and a crucial tunnel. It downs power lines, uproots trees, inundates Manhattan, and causes extensive damage in New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, Rhode Island, and Massachusetts. Heavy wind and rain continue all night through three tidal cycles.
October 30, 2012: Sandy moves away from New York, toward Pennsylvania, but is still drenching the Northeast.
October 31, 2012: Sandy dissipates over western Pennsylvania, leaving heavy snow in the Appalachian Mountains.
FAQs: What you need to know about Hurricane Sandy, and learn how you can help
Explore frequently asked questions about Hurricane Sandy, and learn how you can help families impacted by hurricanes.
On Oct. 22, 2012, over tropical ocean waters off the coast of Nicaragua, Hurricane Sandy began from a tropical wave that developed into a tropical depression, then quickly into a tropical cyclone. Two days later it became a Category 1 hurricane with winds stronger than 74 mph.
Hurricane Sandy first made landfall in Jamaica as a Category 1 hurricane on October 24, 2012. The next day, it wreaked a path of destruction through Cuba, Haiti, the Dominican Republic, and the Bahamas.
On Oct. 29, 2012, Sandy made landfall over the U.S. near Atlantic City, New Jersey, with hurricane-force winds of 90 mph.
The number of deaths from Hurricane Sandy, such as drowning in storm surges or flooding, is counted at 147, according to the National Hurricane Center. Death counts in the U.S. totaled 72. Haiti was the second-most affected country with 54 deaths.
What was the damage from Hurricane Sandy? Is it one of the costliest hurricanes in U.S. history?
Hurricane Sandy is now the fourth-costliest hurricane in U.S. history, damaging at least 650,000 houses and causing $70.2 billion worth of damage. When Sandy made landfall in 2012, it was the second-costliest hurricane to hit the United States since 1900, with Hurricane Katrina in 2005 being the costliest. Both Hurricane Harvey in 2017 and Hurricane Irma in 2017 have since topped Sandy.
What was World Vision’s response to Hurricane Sandy?
Haiti: In the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, World Vision staff in Haiti distributed nearly 6,000 tarpaulins, 5,000 jerry cans, and 2,500 hygiene kits in Port-au-Prince. In the far south of the island nation, 100 families received T-shirts, sleeping mats, and blankets. Hot meals were also provided to 200 families in shelters in La Gonave.
United States: As Hurricane Sandy moved away from the East Coast, World Vision sent relief teams to assess the damage. Teams surveyed areas in New York, New Jersey, Maryland, West Virginia, and Kentucky.
World Vision targeted the most impoverished and vulnerable communities in each state and supported local partners — such as churches and community groups — to facilitate clean-up efforts.
World Vision had pre-positioned emergency supplies to help with the relief effort, including flood clean-up kits, food kits, and hygiene kits. Additional supplies were trucked from World Vision’s domestic disaster warehouse in Grand Prairie, Texas.
Initiatives and accomplishments of World Vision’s Hurricane Sandy response included:
49,335 people served
$2.49 million worth of relief supplies and materials distributed
1,534 volunteers hours
9,904 blankets distributed
9,001 hygiene kits distributed
1,700 flood clean-up kits distributed
5,168 students and 398 teachers provided school supplies through a mobile Teacher Resource Center
On May 20, 2013, one of the deadliest tornadoes in Oklahoma’s history raked a 14-mile path of destruction through the southern areas of Oklahoma City and decimated the city of Moore, causing $2 billion worth of damage. It flattened one elementary school, where no fatalities occurred, then hit another school, where a wall collapsed and killed seven children. The Moore, Oklahoma, tornado was categorized as an EF5, a rare twister packing estimated wind speeds greater than 200 mph. It killed 24 people and created a swath of destruction, including 300 demolished homes.
Less than two weeks later, the largest ever-recorded tornado — coupled with severe rain and flooding — struck central Oklahoma and caused further damage and loss of life, killing nine during the tornado and 14 people in the flooding.
1947: The deadliest tornado in Oklahoma’s history struck on April 9, 1947, killing 116 people and injuring 782 after killing at least 69 people in Texas.
1999: On May 3, 1999, a series of nearly 60 tornadoes struck central Oklahoma within 24 hours, largely in the southern metropolitan areas of Oklahoma City, including Moore. One of these, the Bridge Creek–Moore tornado, killed 36 people, destroyed 1,800 homes, and damaged another 2,500 homes.
May 20, 2013: The 2013 Moore tornado followed a path similar to that of the 1999 Bridge Creek–Moore twister. After three days of severe weather, several supercell thunderstorms developed. One of these produced a tornado that touched down in Newcastle and rapidly turned violent. For 40 minutes, the tornado tracked a devastating path through Newcastle, Moore, and southern Oklahoma City, damaging two schools, destroying 300 homes, and claiming 24 lives.
May 31, 2013: Additional tornadoes hit central Oklahoma, including the largest ever recorded tornado — the El Reno tornado, which stretched 2.6 miles wide and killed nine people. This tornado stirred up accompanying tornadoes and storms that caused flash flooding, killing 14 people around Oklahoma City and compounding recovery efforts.
FAQs: What you need to know about the 2013 Moore, Oklahoma, tornado
Explore frequently asked questions about the deadly tornado, and learn how you can help people affected by similar disasters in the U.S.
Only 11 days after the EF5 Moore tornado, the El Reno tornado, measuring 2.6 miles wide, struck central Oklahoma. It was categorized as an EF3, but its width was the largest ever recorded. It killed nine people in their cars and caused widespread flash flooding that killed 14 more. This flooding also hampered relief efforts in Moore, Oklahoma, and caused additional damage.
How did World Vision respond to the 2013 Oklahoma tornado?
Within 24 hours of the deadly tornado on May 20, 2013, World Vision staff arrived in Moore, Oklahoma, with a 53-foot trailer carrying emergency supplies, including food kits, hygiene kits, diapers, blankets, cleaning supplies, and tarps.
Within weeks, World Vision was working with local partners, including churches and schools, to provide school supplies and other essentials — clothes, shoes, toys, and household goods — to help families begin to return to normalcy.
Soon after that, World Vision brought building materials — roofing materials, insulation, faucets, and more — to local partners to help the most vulnerable families rebuild their homes. Altogether, more than 15,500 people benefited from World Vision’s assistance.
Hurricane Florence made landfall as a Category 1 hurricane the morning of Friday, Sept. 14 over Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina, a few miles east of Wilmington and not far from the South Carolina border. The hurricane came ashore with 90-mph winds and punishing storm surge.
States of emergency were declared in Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, Virginia, Maryland, and Washington, D.C. North Carolina alone was forecasted to receive 9.6 trillion gallons of rain, enough to cover the entire state in 10 inches of water.
Sept. 1: A weather system in the Atlantic becomes a tropical storm and is named Florence.
Sept. 4: Tropical Storm Florence grows into a hurricane with maximum sustained winds of 75 mph, becoming the third hurricane to form during the 2018 Atlantic hurricane season. By the end of the day, it strengthens to a Category 2 hurricane with maximum sustained winds of 100 mph.
Sept. 5: Florence becomes a major hurricane — the first of the 2018 Atlantic hurricane season. It grows to a Category 3, then a Category 4, then weakens to a Category 3. Sustained winds peak at 130 mph.
Sept. 6: Florence weakens to a tropical storm but is forecasted to strengthen again.
Sept. 9: Florence grows back into a hurricane.
Sept. 10: Florence quickly grows into a major hurricane, becoming a Category 3 and then a Category 4 with sustained wind speeds up to 140 mph. The White House approves an emergency declaration ahead of the storm hitting the Carolinas.
Sept. 12: Hurricane Florence weakens to a Category 2, but the storm remains large in width and slows down.
Sept. 14: Florence makes landfall — moving 6 mph with maximum sustained winds near 90 mph — as a Category 1 hurricane near Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina, at 7:15 a.m. Eastern time. The storm slows to only 3 mph and weakens to a tropical storm by the end of the day.
Sept. 15: Florence is a 350-mile-wide tropical storm that is dumping massive amounts of rain throughout the Carolinas. Some areas experience record rainfall with widespread flooding and predictions for it to get worse. Winds have lessened to 45 mph.
Sept. 16: Some areas receive as much as 34 inches of rain from Sept. 13 to Sept. 16.
Sept. 17: Floodwaters continue to rise, blocking 1,200 roads in North Carolina. Tornadoes are prevalent across North Carolina and Virginia. Florence is downgraded from a tropical depression.
September 18: Florence is downgraded to a post-tropical cyclone, sustaining winds of just 25 mph.
What other major hurricanes have hit North Carolina and South Carolina?
The strongest major hurricane to make landfall there was Hurricane Hazel in 1954, which made landfall right over the North Carolina and South Carolina border on Oct. 15, 1954. Hurricane Hazel, packing winds of 130 mph, destroyed 15,000 homes and killed 19 people in North Carolina. Since then, North and South Carolinians have weathered dozens of hurricanes of varying force and impact.
How is World Vision responding to Hurricane Florence?
Since Florence, World Vision has served about 15,600 people in some of the worst-affected areas.
We partnered with Fayetteville Dream Center to set up a shelter at Manna Church in Fayetteville, North Carolina. Staff from Dream Center, the church, and World Vision served evacuees there and began providing relief supplies Sunday, Sept. 16. We also provided truckloads of supplies to church partners to distribute in Lumberton, Jacksonville, and Kinston, North Carolina within the first week of the storm.
Relief supplies included food, water, temporary shelter items (such as tents and sleeping bags), hygiene items, coolers, blankets, diapers, clothing, and flood cleanup kits.
An assessment team arrived in North Carolina ahead of the storm on Friday, Sept. 14. By early morning as the storm came ashore, a semitruck full of World Vision relief supplies arrived at a community partner’s facility in Fayetteville, North Carolina. We had positioned relief supplies nearby in Georgia and South Carolina in order to significantly reduce the transit time of getting those supplies into the areas that need them.
On Wednesday, Sept. 12, we dispatched five semitrucks full of supplies from our north Texas field site and one from our warehouse near Seattle. We sent another 15 trucks from our field sites in West Virginia, North Texas, and Hartford, Connecticut.
Working with church and community partners in affected areas allows our response teams to mobilize quickly from our domestic disaster response hub in North Texas and our field site in Philippi, West Virginia.
“Our biggest concern is that this isn’t something that we’ll respond to just overnight,” says Quincy Walker, World Vision’s Pacific Northwest field site manager who deployed to North Carolina. “We’re here to see this thing through and let families know we love them.”
How can I help people in Hurricane Florence’s path?
Pray: Please join us in prayer for people affected by Hurricane Florence. Almighty Father, we ask for Your care and protection for people affected by Florence and its destructive flooding. Give them the assurance of Your presence and equip those who will provide relief and assistance after the storm passes. Strengthen the minds and bodies of first responders for the days ahead.
Give: Your gift will help to provide urgent relief that people affected by Hurricane Florence desperately need.
Once an emerging force for democracy in West Africa, Mali has struggled in recent years to maintain governmental stability. A coup in 2012, ensuing military intervention in the north, and regular uprisings by rebel and extremist groups throughout the country have left the nation of about 18 million people vulnerable. Frequent and increasingly severe droughts have added to the country’s challenges.
Mali conflict timeline
1891 — French Sudan colony is formed, which includes modern Mali.
1960 — Mali achieves independence from France on September 22.
2012 — In January, Tuareg ethnic rebellion in the north sets off massive displacement as people flee fighting. President Toure is deposed by military officers in March. Then in April, Tuareg rebels seize northern Mali and declare independence, calling the state Azawad. From June to July, other rebel groups seize territory and continue conflict in the north. In November, the African Union deploys troops to quell violence in the north. By now, more than 112,000 Malians have fled the violence as refugees to Burkina Faso, Mauritania, or Niger. At least 250,000 more residents are displaced within Mali.
2013 — In January, French and Malian forces recapture much of the north. On May 15, international donors pledge more than $4 billion to help Mali get back on its feet. Then on June 18, rebels and the Malian government sign a peace agreement that prepares the way for elections. In July, a 12,600-strong U.N. military and police force takes over to help stabilize the country. On Aug. 11, the Malian people peacefully elect Ibrahim Boubacar Keita as their new president in a runoff election. Before the coup, Mali’s democracy was considered a success story among West African nations.
2014 — Fighting continues between the Mali government and militias in the north.2015 — The Mali government negotiates peace with militias and allows more regional autonomy for the Tuareg ethnic group in a peace deal aimed at ending years of civil conflict in the northern regions.
2017 — The people of Mali continue to experience the effects of violence and insecurity from multiple attacks by extremist groups and clashes between rebel factions and communal groups. About 142,000 Malians still live as refugees in neighboring countries.
2018 — Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta is re-elected president. Insecurity and terrorist attacks continue. An increase of insecurity and ethnic conflicts in Central Mali make some areas inaccessible to nongovernmental aid groups.
FAQs: What you need to know about the Mali conflict
Explore facts and frequently asked questions about the Mali conflict, and learn how you can help children and families in Mali.
One in every three children is stunted—short for their age—indicating high levels of chronic malnutrition. Drought and poverty are behind the spike in undernourished children, but lack of clean water and sanitation also play a part.
Children who are displaced in Mali often don’t have access to the healthcare and education services they need. In crisis-affected areas, 750 schools are closed. Increasing conflict endangers children and other civilians, especially in Mopti and Menaka, where intercommunity attacks have led to displacements and several deaths.
What are the greatest needs of children and families in Mali?
The greatest needs of children and families in Mali are food security, health, and all aspects of child protection. Without reliable sources of food, families are cutting back consumption, and more children are becoming malnourished. As many as 4.3 million people don’t have adequate food. With children vulnerable to violence and recruitment into armed groups, they need opportunities for education and strong support systems within their families and communities.
Providing food to famine survivors and malnourished children during the 1980s
Providing immunizations and improved nutrition to reduce the high mortality rates of children throughout the 1990s
Developing education and health systems and providing microfinance assistance in the 21st century
During the height of the political upheaval in 2012 and 2013, World Vision staff worked to provide emergency food aid, shelter, access to safe drinking water and improved hygiene facilities, and household necessities to about 150,000 people throughout the country. About 65,000 children are currently registered in World Vision child sponsorship programs in Mali; almost 21,000 of them are located in areas that were affected by fighting.
Since April 2018, World Vision mounted a new response to the humanitarian crisis in central Mali. The initial target is to serve more than 23,000 individuals, focusing on food assistance, nutrition, water and sanitation, child protection, and peacebuilding.
Typhoon Bopha made landfall the evening of Dec. 3, 2012, onBaganga, Mindanao in the Philippines. With sustained winds above 175 mph, the Category 5 storm was the strongest to ever hit the southern Philippine islands and the strongest to hit the country until the record-breaking superstorm, Typhoon Haiyan, in 2013.
Typhoon Bopha followed a similar path to that of Tropical Storm Washi, which killed more than 1,200 people and left thousands homeless only a year before. But Bopha was a much stronger storm. Though more than 170,000 people evacuated to storm shelters, the death toll from Typhoon Bopha topped 1,000 people.
2012 Typhoon Bopha timeline
Nov. 23: A weather system emerges in Micronesia, but is perceived as having little chance of developing into a significant weather system.
Nov. 30: Now a named storm, Bopha is upgraded to a severe tropical storm. Then, a few hours later it becomes a typhoon as its wind speed increases.
Dec. 2: Bopha strengthens to a super typhoon with sustained wind speeds of at least 150 mph. Later it develops a double eyewall as the whirling band of thunderstorms that surround the calmer eye increases. This is a sign that the storm is intensifying.
Dec. 3: At 9 p.m. Bopha makes landfall over Baganga, Mindanao, as a Category 5 super typhoon.
Dec. 4 to 6: After raking across Davao Oriental and Compostela Valley provinces, Typhoon Bopha crosses into the southern and central regions of Mindanao, downing power lines and triggering landslides.
Dec. 7 to 9: Bopha begins to strengthen again, but as it moves to the South China Sea and west of Palawan island province, it dissipates.
FAQs: What you need to know about Typhoon Bopha
Learn more about the historic force of Typhoon Bopha and how to help people in the Philippines.
What’s the difference between a typhoon and a tropical storm?
The difference between a typhoon and a tropical storm is wind speed.
Tropical storms are extremely low-pressure areas over the ocean with winds rotating around a central point, like in a washing machine. Tropical storms are very strong thunderstorms; they are called tropical storms because they usually develop in the tropics.
When a tropical depression gets enough steam for its winds to clock between 39 and 73 mph, it’s a tropical storm. When it passes 74 mph — and it’s in the Atlantic or Northeast Pacific, it’s upgraded to a hurricane. Typhoons, like Bopha, are the same as hurricanes, but they are found in the Northwest Pacific Ocean. Find out more about hurricanes, cyclones, and typhoons.
The Japanese Meteorological Agency names new typhoons from a list of 140 names submitted by countries in the region, including China, Vietnam, Cambodia, and the Philippines. But when a typhoon approaches the Philippines, it gets a local name provided by the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical, and Astronomical Services Administration based on four rotating lists of 25 names. The storm that everyone else called Typhoon Bopha, they named Typhoon Pablo.
The Philippines is one of the most disaster-prone countries in the world. Not only is it at risk for disastrous weather events, it is in a hot zone for earthquakes, volcanos, and tsunamis since it sits on the Pacific’s Ring of Fire.
Landslides, floods, and volcanic eruptions can happen to anyone, but communities with poor infrastructure and families in poverty, such as much of Mindanao, have a much more difficult time coping and recovering from emergencies compared to wealthier people and places. Because of conflict and extreme poverty, human development in several Mindanao provinces is extremely low, far below the Philippines’ average and comparable to Niger and the Central African Republic in sub-Saharan Africa. When disasters such as Typhoon Bopha strike, the extremely poor have few resources to put toward recovery.
How can I help children and families in the Philippines?
Pray for people affected by poverty and recurring disasters in the Philippines and other countries in the Asia Pacific region.
Sponsor a child in the Philippines. When you sponsor a child, you will help change a child’s life story and the life of their family and community. You’ll provide access to life-saving basics like nutritious food, healthcare, clean water, education, and more.
World Vision has worked in the Philippines since 1954, caring for children and building sustainable communities. Building resilience and preparing for disasters are two of the top aims of our long-term development programs.
Based on assessments, World Vision prioritized these relief items and activities in response to Typhoon Bopha:
Hygiene kits and household goods
Emergency shelter supplies
Child protection programs at Child-Friendly Spaces
In the longer term, World Vision also helped to restore families to income-earning activities through cash-for-work programs and small business loans.
Hurricane Lane, now a tropical storm, brought heavy rains, wind, and high surf to the Hawaiian islands. The storm system caused catastrophic flooding after it dumped as much as 40 inches of rain in parts of the state. Landslides were also reported.
Lane approached the Big Island as a Category 4 hurricane, but did not make landfall. By Saturday, Aug. 25, the storm was downgraded to a Category 2. Lane brought massive amounts of rain to densely populated Oahu, but turned sharply west and skirted the islands. By Monday, Aug. 27, the storm had weakened to a tropical storm and had blown into the open ocean more than 500 miles west of Honolulu.
Explore frequently asked questions about hurricanes and Hawaii, including how you can help people affected by hurricanes like Lane. World Vision assisted more than 261,000 people in the U.S. in 2017 and through July 31, 2018 through our responses to disasters like successive hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria.
The last hurricane to affect Hawaii was Hurricane Ana, a Category 1 storm that touched the small island of Niihau in 2014. The latest significant hurricane was Category 4 Iniki that hit the island of Kauai in 1992. That storm killed six people and caused $3.1 billion in damages. Hurricane John in 1994 was the last Category 5 storm to pass through the islands, although it never came as close as Lane.
With a small landmass in the big Pacific Ocean, Hawaii is not a big target. Also, the high-pressure feature that most often occurs on the northeast of the island, giving Hawaii its consistently pleasant weather, is strong from May to October — prime hurricane season. Deep, cool waters around the islands also help to moderate tropical storms.
How can I help people affected by hurricanes and other disasters?
Pray: As a Christian development and disaster relief organization, World Vision asks others to join in prayer for people affected by Hurricane Lane. Almighty Father, we ask for your care and protection for people in the path of Hurricane Lane. Give them the assurance of your presence and equip those who provide relief and assistance after the storm passes.
Cyclone Phailin made landfall near Gopalpur, in India’s Odisha state, on Oct. 12, 2013, at 9 p.m. local time. It was the strongest storm to hit India in 14 years, bringing winds of 140 mph and torrential rain that toppled trees and power lines along 250 miles of the Andhra Pradesh and Odisha coastlines.
Cyclone Phailin killed 23 people and affected about 9 million residents. More than 1 million people were evacuated ahead of its landfall to avoid a repeat of the death toll of a 1999 cyclone, which killed 10,000 people. Phailin also destroyed crops worth more than $394 million along with hundreds of thousands of houses, schools, and other buildings.
2013 Cyclone Phailin timeline
With an early warning of a depression forming over the Andaman Sea near Thailand, communities, aid groups, and government authorities prepared to cope with a historic storm.
Oct. 8: The Indian government prepares to launch a massive evacuation from coastal areas of Odisha and Andhra Pradesh states.
Oct. 10 and 11: Cyclone Phailin is half the size of India and reaches Category 5 status. About 1 million people exit low-lying coastal areas to shelter in stormproof structures stocked with food and supplies.
Oct. 12 and 13: Cyclone Phailin makes landfall on the Odisha coast, cutting off communication lines to disaster-hit areas. The intensity of the storm force continues for many hours. World Vision development programs in Bhubaneswar, Nirman, and Ranpur are among the hardest-hit areas.
Oct. 14: Significantly weakened by passing over land, Cyclone Phailin moves inland as a low-pressure storm.
FAQs: What you need to know about Cyclone Phailin
Explore frequently asked questions about Cyclone Phailin, and learn how you can help children and families in India today.
What is the difference between a cyclone, a hurricane, and a typhoon?
The differences among cyclones, hurricanes, and typhoons are their locations, although scientifically, they are all known as tropical cyclones. Hurricanes occur in the Atlantic and Northeast Pacific. Typhoons are found in the Northwest Pacific Ocean. In the South Pacific and the Indian Ocean, the same type of storm is called a cyclone.
Pray for children and families affected by poverty and disasters in India and other countries in South Asia.
Sponsor a child in India. When you sponsor a child, you will help change a child’s life story and the life of their family and community. You’ll provide access to life-saving basics like nutritious food, healthcare, clean water, education, and more.
How did World Vision prepare for and respond to Cyclone Phailin?
World Vision has worked to improve the lives of children and families in India since 1962. At the time of Cyclone Phailin, the organization served families in more than 5,300 urban, rural, and tribal communities across 26 states, impacting the lives of 2.4 million children.
World Vision’s community disaster preparedness training played an essential role in the successful evacuation of tens of thousands of people ahead of the storm. In Ranpur, a small town in Odisha’s Nayagarh district, 40 community task force teams trained by World Vision coordinated the evacuation of 12,000 people. The task force includes men, women, and youth from within the community who are trained in disaster preparedness, including search and rescue, basic first aid, and protecting livestock.
In Jagatsinghpur district, World Vision provided megaphones, life jackets, torchlights, and ropes to equip the community task force. Task force members used the megaphone’s siren to alert and call villagers together to evacuate. “We are happy how small yet important things like the megaphones can help in such crucial times,” says Dharmender, director of World Vision’s work in Nirman.
World Vision was one of the first aid agencies to begin distributing relief supplies to families affected by Cyclone Phailin. Family food kits and household kits were pre-positioned to be available as soon as the roads were opened.
Family food kits include rice, jaggery sweetener, beans, puffed rice, high energy biscuits, and bottled water.
Household kits contain bed nets, plastic mats, cotton bed sheets, tarpaulin, women’s saree dress, men’s traditional dhoti, cooking utensils, plates, and a bucket.
World Vision coordinated with national and local disaster management teams to meet community needs for rebuilding homes, infrastructure, water and sanitation, and restoring livelihoods to benefit 30,000 people.
The Solomon Islands, a nation of nearly 1,000 islands east of Papua New Guinea, is located on the Pacific Ring of Fire, where 90 percent of the world’s earthquakes occur. The islands are also prone to extreme weather and flooding. During the past decade, Solomon Islands disasters included cyclones, high tides, floods, earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, landslides, droughts, and tsunamis. The Solomon Islands is also vulnerable to rising sea levels.
Recent timeline of disasters in the Solomon Islands
Water-related diseases related to unclean water and poor sanitation
The Solomon Islands and Vanuatu are among the world’s most seismically active landmasses, second only to Japan. It’s not unusual for the Solomon Islands to have 60 to 70 earthquakes a year. Many of these are small shifts in the earth’s crust that may not be noticed, but there are also large quakes with many aftershocks.
Why do earthquakes and tsunamis occur in the Solomon Islands?
The Solomon Islands sit above a subduction zone where two tectonic plates — Australia and Pacific — meet. Their collision can cause forceful earthquakes and shifts in the ocean floor that generate tsunamis.
What other environmental hazards affect the Solomon Islands?
The Solomon Islands is experiencing rising sea levels that could have a devastating effect on agriculture. Already, soil erosion and saltwater intrusion into agriculture plots are diminishing the amount of arable land. With about 75 percent of the population involved in farming, that’s a grave concern. Increased levels of malnutrition — already a problem — could also result.
How damaging was the 2016 Solomon Islands earthquake?
A magnitude 7.8 undersea earthquake, the epicenter of the Dec. 9, 2016 quake was 38 miles southwest of Kirakira, the provincial capital of Makira-Ulwara Province. Reports of damaged and collapsed houses and a damaged hospital soon emerged from earthquake-affected areas. People fled to higher ground after the initial earthquake for fear of a tsunami.
About 34,000 people in Makira, South Malaita and Guadalcanal provinces were affected by widespread destruction of homes, community kitchens, food sources, and livelihoods. They experienced multiple aftershocks, including a strong second earthquake early on Saturday, December 10. Many families left the damaged homes to stay in the bush, though seasonal rains made living without shelter doubly difficult.
World Vision has been working in the Solomon Islands since 1980 and now operates in Makira, Malaita, Guadalcanal, Temotu, and Central provinces. Our work focuses on clean water, sanitation, and hygiene; economic empowerment; preventing gender-based violence; education; disaster planning and prevention; maternal and child health; and nutrition.
In 2013, World Vision supported the Solomon Islands government with humanitarian and emergency support following the earthquake and tsunami in Temotu Province. The following year, we assisted survivors of flash floods in Guadalcanal Province.
The 2016 earthquake, subsequent landslides, and tidal surges impacted more than half of World Vision’s program areas in the Solomon Islands. At the time of the 2016 earthquake, World Vision had pre-positioned supplies in three locations and began immediately to assess damages and provide aid in cooperation with the national government. Items distributed included shelter kits, kitchen sets, blankets, tarpaulins, jerry cans, hygiene kits, boats, and fuel.
Given the distances and isolation of many of these island communities, responding to disasters is more challenging and problematic in the Solomon Islands. Thus, disaster preparedness is critical.
Through World Vision’s work in disaster risk reduction, we help communities prepare for potential disasters to mitigate their impact. This work is critical to development, protecting lives and livelihoods so people can break free from poverty.
World Vision disaster resilience activities include:
Written and photographed by World Vision photographer Jon Warren
Nikon D750 camera
28mm lens, 1/200th at f/1.4, 640 ISO
* * *
Scratched in chalk on the wall of 13-year-old Kapinga’s home in the Democratic Republic of the Congo are the words, il n’ya pas de rose sans epines — “there is no rose without thorns.”
Kapinga’s life is full of thorns. Some of her classmates served as child soldiers in the same brutal conflict that killed her father. Her grandmother is struggling to raise her. There isn’t enough food or money for school fees. As many as seven times a day, about a mile from her home, Kapinga joins a long queue to scoop water out of a hole in the sand. She hoes in the garden and helps her grandmother cook. When she finally rests at night, the only thing between her and the hard ground is a plastic sheet and an old mosquito net.
And yet, Kapinga is more than a collection of sorrowful circumstances. In the midst of her struggles, she is starting to bloom. I see this and I want others to see it as well.
Light streams through holes in the tin roof and through cracks in the door, dramatically highlighting Kapinga in profile.
I raise my Nikon D750 camera.
There are a series of mental steps I go through whenever I photograph someone. I listen to their story. I consider the context — especially the light. I watch for memorable moments and emotion.
But my number one rule is that I only photograph people I love.
Kapinga is easy to love. She sings like an angel. She loves her grandmother and misses her father terribly. She is kind to her best friend, Vicky. And her smile. It’s a smile that brims with sadness. The smile of a girl who has seen too much too soon. A smile that comes and goes.
Through the thorns, I see a rose. So I click the shutter.
More than 400 people are reported dead after a tsunami struck western Java and southern Sumatra islands during the evening of Dec. 22, 2018. Indonesia’s geological and weather service says the tsunami was likely caused by undersea landslides in the Sunda Strait following an eruption by the Anak Krakatoa volcano. World Vision, which is simultaneously responding to earthquakes on Lombok island and Central Sulawesi, is assisting children and families in some of the worst-affected areas of Serang and Pandeglang districts on the west coast of Java’s Banten province.
A few months earlier, a magnitude 7.5 earthquake struck Indonesia’s Central Sulawesi province on Sept. 28, 2018, triggering a tsunami and landslides that caused widespread destruction and loss of life. More than 2,000 people are known to have died and 4,400 are seriously injured, according to the Indonesia disaster management agency. About 1.5 million people in Central Sulawesi are likely affected. With about 68,000 houses damaged or destroyed, hundreds of thousands of people are still displaced.
Indonesians in Java and Sumatra experienced earthquakes in April and July 2018 respectively, but the most damaging quakes of 2018 occurred later on Lombok island and in Central Sulawesi.
July 28, Aug. 5, Aug. 9, Aug. 19
A series of earthquakes and numerous aftershocks badly affected North and East Lombok, including Mataram city, the provincial capital, which is home to 440,000 people.
A magnitude 7.5 quake and tsunami killed more than 2,000 people and laid waste to Palu, the capital, and nearby areas on Sulawesi island.
A tsunami struck Java and Sumatra starting at 9:30 p.m. and resulting in more than 300 deaths. The tsunami was likely caused by undersea landslides due to the ongoing eruption of Anak Krakatau volcano located in the Sunda Strait. Anak Krakatau’s most recent series of eruptions started in June 2018.
FAQs: What you need to know about the 2018 Indonesia earthquakes and tsunamis
Explore frequently asked questions about the 2018 Indonesia earthquakes, and learn how you can help children and families affected by disasters in Indonesia.
Indonesia is an archipelago that includes thousands of volcanic islands, which are created over time as plates shift and molten rock, or magma, exerts pressure. The Southeast Asian country is located on the Pacific Ring of Fire, where slabs of the earth’s crust — tectonic plates — clash, creating earthquakes when the plates shove against one another. Ninety percent of earthquakes occur along the Ring of Fire.
In addition to earthquakes, tsunamis, and volcanoes associated with the Ring of Fire, Indonesia is prone to droughts and floods. Java and Sumatra, the southern and western islands, experience a wide variety of natural hazards. On the other islands, droughts and floods are the most frequent. In inland areas with steep terrain, heavy rains cause not only flooding but also landslides.
Indonesians have a history of clearing land by burning, which has turned into an environmental hazard as more land is needed for cultivation. The 2015 fires, the worst in 20 years, exposed millions of people in Southeast Asia to toxic haze.
How have children been affected by the 2018 Indonesia earthquakes and tsunamis?
Children who were affected by the 2018 Indonesia earthquakes and tsunami may have lost family members and friends as well as their homes and possessions. The Indonesian government and humanitarian organizations are working together to ensure protection for children to prevent trafficking and exploitation.
Like their adult caregivers, they need shelter, clean water and sanitation, and access to medical care, but they also need support to return to play, education, and a sense of security. In Central Sulawesi, an estimated 460,000 children in four districts are affected.
“Ensuring that survivors have their immediate needs met with adequate shelter, food, and water will be critical over the coming days,” says Doseba Sinay, World Vision’s national director for Indonesia. “It will also be crucial to ensure children are cared for. Our past experience of dealing with quakes has shown that children will be deeply distressed and feel vulnerable if they have lost family members, homes, or have lost their sense of security.”
Ten-year-old Olivia told staff at a World Vision Child-Friendly Space, “the earthquake has destroyed and swallowed up our home.” Olivia was at a village football game when the quake hit. Her father grabbed her hand and ran with her to the top of a hill as the ground moved and people cried out. Now her family lives under a tarpaulin cover at an evacuation center. Olivia’s school books and uniform are gone; she has only the clothes she was wearing. But what makes her most sad is that she lost her favorite doll.
How can I help children and families in Indonesia?
Please support World Vision staff in Indonesia to aid earthquake-affected people in their recovery.
Give: Help us reach out to hurting families by donating to World Vision’s Indonesia tsunami relief fund.
Pray: Join us in praying for people affected by the earthquake as well as for World Vision staff and emergency responders. Almighty Father, we ask for Your mercy on those affected by the earthquakes and tsunami. Protect people. Guide aid workers and emergency responders in the hard-hit areas and as relief measures continue.
How is World Vision responding to Indonesia disasters?
World Vision established its ministry in Indonesia in 1960. Over the years, we have focused on improving the lives of children through long-term development programs that emphasize health, education, livelihoods, water and sanitation, and disaster risk reduction. World Vision has also responded to disasters in Indonesia, including the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami.
Soon after the 2018 earthquakes in both Lombok and Sulawesi, the staff of Wahana Visi, World Vision’s locally-registered partner, sprang into action and began distributing pre-positioned emergency supplies, including family household items, shelter kits, and hygiene supplies. Indonesian staff, many who had suffered losses themselves in the earthquake, stepped up to serve their own people. A feeding center was quickly set up in World Vision’s office compound in Palu city, Central Sulawesi, to help mothers care for and feed their children.
In Central Sulawesi, thousands of people have been helped with water and hygiene, food and infant feeding, household items including blankets and solar lanterns, and Child-Friendly Spaces where children can play and recover. In addition, World Vision is working to restore education opportunities by repairing and equipping schools and providing training in disaster risk reduction.
In response to the Dec. 22, 2018 Sunda Strait tsunami, World Vision is distributing hygiene and household items to families who have lost their homes as well as providing safe places for mothers to feed infants and young children and Child-Friendly Spaces where children can play and recover. The organization plans to assist 15,000 people over nine months with activities that include restoring water and sanitation, shelter, livelihoods, and education.
On March 22, 2014, a deadly mudslide devastated the Washington state community of Oso — 60 miles north of Seattle — with up to 70 feet of mud, swallowing part of the Stillaguamish River and a mile-long stretch of state highway 530. Eyewitnesses say a towering wall of mud roared loudly as it raced through the valley.
Forty-three people died and 10 were injured when a hillside above them collapsed, sweeping over their neighborhood as a massive mudflow. Most of the deceased were trapped in their homes. Fifty houses were damaged or destroyed.
Oso mudslide and recovery timeline
Oso, Washington, lies in the Cascade mountain range within a narrow valley on the banks of the Stillaguamish River’s north fork, which flows west toward Puget Sound. Previous mudslides and slope erosion dating back to the 1930s likely set the stage for the catastrophic 2014 Oso mudslide.
1900s – Seasonal high water begins eroding the hill that eventually gave way in the 2014 mudslide. The Stillaguamish River channel pushes north.
1930s to 1950s – Logging is the economic engine of the Oso area. Some of the logged area is sensitive to shifting because of groundwater. The North Fork of the river is losing its gradual curves, becoming more horseshoe shaped and starting to undercut the hill.
March 22, 2014 – A massive two-stage mudslide pushes about 10 million cubic yards of dirt and debris across the Stillaguamish River, through Steelhead Haven, and over State Route 530. Search and rescue efforts begin immediately.
September 22, 2014 – New, elevated State Route 530 is completed between Arlington and Darrington.
April 9, 2015 – Snohomish County and Washington State Department of Transportation are honored by the American Public Works Association for reconstruction of SR 530.
2016 – Family members and survivors reach a $60 million settlement with the state of Washington and a logging company.
2017 – A 1-mile section of Whitehorse trail reopens through the site of the 2014 mudslide. The trail follows a rail line and accommodates hikers, bikers, and horseback riders.
March 22, 2018 – Family members and friends of landslide victims announce a memorial to be built on the slide site.
A community rallies in the wake of disaster
Pastor Gary Ray of Oso Community Chapel says almost everyone knows somebody who “really suffered” either in lives lost or property damaged by the landslide. Pastor Ray’s church became a clearinghouse for aid coming into the community immediately after the disaster.
In its heyday, Oso was a prosperous logging town. But now, “economically, this region is really in decline,” he says, with unemployment double the national average. He says being in a disaster area really hits hard for people who were already struggling.
Oso, on the west side of the landslide, got most of the attention and donations because of its accessibility to the Interstate 5 corridor north of Seattle. But east of Oso, the logging town of Darrington became landlocked when the mudslide blocked Washington State Highway 530.
Darrington’s residents — many of whom work, shop, and get healthcare in Arlington, Everett, and other cities to the west — had to take a long detour to reach work and services. This put an extra strain on families who were trying to come to grips with the disaster.
The Darrington Food Bank became the go-to place for relief goods on the east end of the slide zone. The mudslide made an immediate impact on a number of people the Darrington Food Bank helps, says Ray Coleman, who helps run the operation in the basement of First Baptist Church.
“We went from feeding 500 people per week to over 1,800 per week,” he says. “For a town of 1,300, that’s not insignificant.”
People from beyond Darrington also visited the food bank, says Coleman, a retired truck driver who did not take a day off from working at the food bank until three weeks after the Oso mudslide. Some had daily round-trip commutes of five hours or more because of road closures. “That’s a tank of gas,” he says.
Leanne Whittle was one of the new food bank customers. She had never needed it before, she says. But after the mudslide, her daily 1-hour round-trip commute to Arlington had become a 4-hour ordeal. With more money going toward gasoline, she had less money for food.
World Vision responds to the Oso mudslide
World Vision delivered 300 family food kits to the Darrington Food Bank April 16 and helped families clean up and rebuild their homes. World Vision also delivered 125 clean-up kits, 156 personal hygiene kits, and 300 family food kits to Oso Community Church on the west side of the disaster site.
Reed Slattery, manager of World Vision’s field site in Fife, Washington, spoke to several homeowners with damaged homes on the Darrington side of the mudslide to understand their needs. He told one woman that World Vision would coordinate volunteers to help her remove rotted drywall and donors to provide building materials.
“She was overwhelmed,” says Reed. “She said, ‘I didn’t know where we were going to turn next.’ I told her, ‘We’re ready to walk with you for the long haul.’”
The focus was to provide basic supplies early on, Slattery says. Later, World Vision assisted survivors in the area with building materials as they rebuilt their lives and found new places to live.
World Vision’s domestic disaster response program prepares for disasters, develops emergency networks, trains communities to respond, solicits donated essential items, and supports a network of churches and strategic partners.
Between October 2012 and September 2013, World Vision provided relief to nearly 80,000 people in the aftermath of six U.S. disasters, including Superstorm Sandy in New York, and the deadly tornadoes near Oklahoma City.
A prayer when danger is close
Oso is about an hour north of World Vision’s headquarters in Federal Way; that near connection is why we felt the pain of the Oso mudslide so deeply.
We take the Scripture’s advice to “weep with those who weep” (Romans 12:15) and stand with our neighbors here in Washington state and around the world that face the loss of loved ones.
We pray, “Be merciful to me, Lord, for I am in distress; my eyes grow weak with sorrow, my soul and body with grief” (Psalm 31:9).
We continue to lift all those grieving a loss before the Throne of Grace — for strength and comfort.
How you can help in times of disaster
Pray: Pray for children, families, and communities affected by U.S. disasters. Pray especially for those who have lost loved ones. Pray for local churches and community groups working to assist affected families. Pray that the damage will be minimal and that the people impacted will find the help they need.
Donate: Make a one-time donation to our U.S. disaster response fund. Your gift will help us respond quickly and effectively to life-threatening emergencies here in the United States.
Volunteer: World Vision is seeking volunteers at its warehouses across the United States. Volunteers help sort, prepare, and pack cleaning supplies, personal hygiene items, and organize other supplies.
John Iwasaki of World Vision’s staff in the U.S. contributed to this article.
The humanitarian world news briefs bring you a regularly updated selection of events and trends impacting people and the humanitarian community worldwide. This news feed goes back to early 2015, so you can find multiple entries for certain events or themes to discover how they developed over time.
Our FAQs are a great way to stay up-to-date on a specific topic or issue:
India’s Kerala state hit by damaging monsoon flooding
India’s southwest coastal state of Kerala has been hit hard by periods of extreme rainfall during July and August, leading to record-breaking 2018 India monsoon floods and landslides. More than 350 people have died and hundreds of thousands have been displaced in Kerala. Houses, schools, roads, and bridges have been lost to raging waters and mudslides during two episodes of extreme rain in July and August.
Earlier in the 2018 monsoon season, which runs from June to September, heavy rains and floods caused similar damage in other parts of the country, especially in northeast India. Plentiful monsoon rains are necessary for India’s mainly rain-fed agriculture, but damaging rains and landslides cause an economic burden to many rural Indians each year.
Even as the nation’s attention turns to Kerala, disaster response work continues in other parts of the country. World Vision is bringing relief goods to Kerala communities and is providing shelter assistance and cash for work programs to families affected by floods in Assam, Mizoram, and Manipur states. Give to World Vision’s India flood relief.
July 27, 2018
With cash, you choose
Humanitarian organizations, including World Vision, are increasingly using e-cards—like debit cards—to provide aid to refugees and disaster survivors. In 2017, World Vision assisted 2 million people in 28 countries with cash-based aid. Cash equivalent cards are not only efficient and cost-effective, they give families more independence and choices. They also support local markets, creating a sustainable business model. In Lebanon, Syrian refugees can use the card for basic needs, including food, shelter, health, and hygiene. World Vision works with the World Food Program to distribute e-cards to refugees, monitor shops that honor the cards, and handle refugees’ concerns.
June 15, 2018
Learning by farming
Groups of farmers are going back to school in South Sudan and in many other countries where World Vision works. But instead of studying in classrooms, they are heading outside to Farmer Field Schools. New seed varieties and crop storage techniques are in the curriculum, but so is peace building, nutrition, and gender- and child-protection training. With the help of World Vision facilitators, men and women test new ideas to produce more and better grain, vegetables, and fruit. At the same time, they learn to work together and support each other for the sake of their children and communities.
April 9, 2018
Reading camp is a popular Saturday morning activity for children in first through third grades in Nepal’s Sindhuli district. They show up bright and early in their school uniforms to enjoy songs, dances, art, and games that spark a love of learning and literacy. World Vision started the program in Nepal to help in youngsters who are still recovering from a devastating 2015 earthquake. “This excites young minds and captures their interest,” says teacher Bimala Ale Magar. Reading camps are a key component of World Vision’s Unlock Literacy initiative in many countries.
March 6, 2018
One-stop center for recovery
Forty-seven percent of Zambian women report having experienced physical, emotional, or sexual violence by an intimate partner. That’s one of the highest rates of gender-based violence in the world. But things are changing. World Vision is participating in a program to end gender-based violence that includes One-Stop Centers in health facilities where victims of abuse can see a doctor, a counselor, a legal advocate, and a police officer. Prevention is part of the project too, with outreach to young men through sports teams and to everyone through radio programs.
July 31, 2017
Better together: The Global Emergency Response Coalition
Between July 17 and 28, World Vision partnered with seven other organizations, including CARE and Save the Children, to raise global awareness of the East Africa hunger crisis and fund response work in the region. The Global Emergency Response Coalition raised $3.7 million to battle famine.
June 12, 2017
1,500th borehole well drilled in Mali
Something to celebrate: In June, World Vision drilled its 1,500th borehole well since 2003 in Mali. World Vision began its water work in Mali in the late 1970s with digging freshwater wells.
May 31, 2017
Cyclone Mora triggers a series of landslides in Bangladesh
In one of the country’s worst natural disasters in recent years, Cyclone Mora’s heavy rains triggered a series of landslides in southeastern Bangladesh, including one area where World Vision works. At least 130 people were killed and half a million were displaced. Staff did an initial assessment of the damage and provided food and water to displaced families at a World Vision-run emergency shelter.
Philippines: Violence on the island of Mindanao
World Vision began its relief operations after more than 200,000 people were forced to flee violence in the city of Marawion on the island of Mindanao. At least 1,000 displaced families have taken shelter in evacuation centers and relatives’ homes, and World Vision is providing them with hygiene kits and items like blankets and mosquito nets.
March 24, 2017
Peru’s deadly floods continue to worsen
More than 75 people have died and 100,000 driven from their homes after weeks of heavy rain triggered widespread flooding and mudslides up and down the coast.
The strongest rains in decades have affected almost 650,000 people countrywide and have hit the northern region particularly hard. Thousands of buildings are damaged or destroyed, including more than 1,200 miles of roads and 175 bridges.
This video of a woman miraculously escaping from a flowing river of mud and debris shows the magnitude of the disaster near Lima.
World Vision is responding to needs in Piura, Lambayeque, La Libertad, Ancash, and Lima. Staff on the ground are providing affected families with food, hygiene kits, clothing, and supplies for temporary shelter. We are also setting up Child-Friendly Spaces, which give children a place to play, do homework, or receive counseling support.
More than 1,800 children registered in World Vision’s sponsorship program in La Libertad and Ancash are affected, according to our latest reports from the country. Some of them lost their homes.
In other humanitarian world news
1 in 3 people worldwide still live in low levels of development despite global average human development improving significantly since 1990, according to a new report from the United Nations Development Program.
A U.S. hotline to help trafficking survivors saw a 24 percent increase in cases reported in 2016, compared with 2015, the Thomson Reuters Foundation reported Jan. 31. Last year, the National Human Trafficking Hotline received 7,572 reports of people being trafficked for sex or forced labor. The hotline saw not only a large increase in cases reported, but also noted new types of abuse. Some people were forced to sell magazines, vacuums, or cleaning products door-to-door or defraud people of social security benefits by stealing identities. Set up in 2007, the hotline operates 24 hours a day in multiple languages.
Kenya’s high court ruled Feb. 9 that the government’s 2016 decision to close the world’s largest refugee camp in Dadaab goes against the country’s constitution, the BBC reported. The directive had set in motion an effort to repatriate about 260,000 Somali refugees living in the camp by May. Government officials said they would appeal the ruling because they remain concerned about security issues they say stemmed from extremist activities in the camp. About 69,000 people have left the camp since the government announced plans to close Dadaab at the end of May. Still, about 257,000 people remain in Dadaab. Established in 1991 to host Somali families fleeing conflict, Dadaab is located near Kenya’s border with southern Somalia. World Vision has long provided various services in Dadaab camp and throughout Kenya and Somalia.
February 3, 2017
Colombia’s FARC to release all child soldiers
As a result of a peace deal between the FARC rebel group and the Colombian government, the rebels will release all remaining child soldiers. The transfer will happen as thousands of rebel fighters turn in their weapons at designated sites. Colombia’s child welfare agency says nearly 3,700 children were recruited into FARC ranks since 1999. The government estimates that about 170 underage combatants remain. For its part, the government has pledged to counsel and support former soldiers to help them reintegrate into civilian life.
January 30, 2017
Kenyan irrigation app helps farmers save crops
Scientists at a Kenyan university have invented a mobile app to help farmers deal with increasingly frequent drought and unpredictable rainfall, the Thomson Reuters Foundation reported Jan. 24. The app monitors a field’s need for water and controls irrigation equipment to deliver appropriate amounts of water. It also alerts the owner when there’s a problem. The system consists of the phone app, a water-flow control unit, solar panels, and two drip irrigation lines. Costing about $480 to set up on a quarter-acre, it’s not exactly cheap for many small-scale farmers. The system costs about $48 to install on every additional quarter-acre. But it has proven to drastically reduce drought-related crop losses and save farmers money.
January 20, 2017
New study highlights widening rich-poor food disparity
A person in Malawi pays about 100 times as much on a bowl of bean stew than a person in Davos, Switzerland, suggests new research from the World Food Program. The findings, presented during the World Economic Forum in Davos this month, highlight the growing disparity between wealthy and developing nations. Factoring in average daily income and cost of food, people in Malawi spend about 41 percent of their daily income for a bowl of beans — less than $1 — and the Swiss spend about .41 percent of their daily income on the same meal. The WFP study, called Hot Dinner Data, showed that in especially fragile contexts like war-torn Syria, a bowl of beans could cost more than a person’s average daily income. While more affordable in places like India or Nicaragua, the same meal could still cost 10 to 15 times what it does in Switzerland.
New head of U.N. plans surge in diplomacy for peace
On his first day as the United Nations’ new secretary general, Jan. 1, former Portuguese prime minister António Guterres called on member nations to make 2017 “a year for peace.” Also high on the new leader’s agenda for his five-year term is sustainable development and reform of the U.N. bureaucracy to make it more decentralized and flexible. Guterres led the U.N.’s refugee agency from 2005 to 2015.
More child laborers freed in India
Police in Hyderabad rescued 200 underage workers from bangle factories earlier this month in a national sweep to end child trafficking and find missing children. Most of the children making bracelets were between ages 8 and 14 and were trafficked from poverty-stricken northern states. Since 2015, 2,000 children have been freed from labor in Hyderabad. The children stay in shelters until they can return to their homes. The International Labor Organization (ILO) estimated in 2015 that 5.7 million children ages 5 to 17 were in the labor force in India. There are an estimated 168 million child workers around the world. In Indian communities where World Vision works, child protection units trained by World Vision intervene to prevent trafficking, exploitation, and child marriage. World Vision trained more than 200,000 children in child rights in 2015.
Nigerian Air Force accidentally bombs refugee camp
At least 76 people were killed and more than 100 injured Jan. 17 when Nigerian Air Force planes accidentally bombed a refugee camp near Nigeria’s border with Cameroon, Reuters reported. The casualties included people displaced by ongoing attacks by extremist groups, as well as aid workers. The mistaken strike followed Nigeria’s weeks-long military offensive against extremists in the region. Years of violence have displaced 2.2 million people in the Lake Chad region — Niger, Nigeria, Cameroon, and Chad — and triggered what has become one of the worst humanitarian crises in the world right now.
January 13, 2017
Afghanistan now a “continual emergency”
An unprecedented 623,000 Afghans were forcibly displaced from their homes in 2016, according to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. The huge increase came as fighting intensified throughout the country between extremist groups. Three times as many people were displaced in 2016 than 2014, which has led officials to say the country is in a state of ‘continual emergency.’ And about 8,400 civilians were killed or injured last year. Further straining the dire humanitarian situation in 2016, more than 600,000 Afghan refugees were forced back home from neighboring Pakistan and Iran. The U.N. predicts conflict will displace another 450,000 Afghans in 2017, IRIN News reported Jan. 10. World Vision began work in Afghanistan in 2001 and has trained hundreds of doctors, nurses, and midwives to improve healthcare services in communities struggling with poor maternal and child health.
January 6, 2017
El Salvador’s murder rate drops 20 percent in 2016
The number of Salvadorans murdered in 2016 fell by 20 percent compared with the year before. Gang violence has plagued El Salvador for years. In 2015 the Central American country was considered the murder capital of the world, with a homicide rate of 104 per 100,000 residents. The rate dropped to 81.7 per 100,000 in 2016, Reuters reported Jan. 2. The national police said new efforts to fight street gangs helped avoid 1,378 deaths, bringing the 2016 homicide total to 5,278. World Vision has worked with communities in El Salvador for more than 40 years.
November 23, 2016
Fewer U.S. households were food insecure in 2015
The number of hungry households in the U.S. continued a downward trend in 2015, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s household food security report. It estimates that the percentage of food-insecure American households decreased to 12.7 percent — or 15.8 million households — in 2015, down from 14 percent in 2014. This means more families can afford enough groceries to feed each member without cutting meals or the size of their meals. U.S. hunger reached its highest point in 2011 when 14.9 percent of households reported being food insecure at some point during the year. The USDA also reports that 5 percent of U.S. households “very low” food security in 2015, down from 5.6 percent. World Vision and partners around the country work to help food-insecure families by providing food kits through schools, churches, and in response to disasters.
Landmine casualties at 10-year high globally
Landmines and other unexploded ordnance killed or maimed almost 6,500 people around the world in 2015. That’s the most recorded since 2006 and a 75 percent increase in casualties over 2014, the International Campaign to Ban Landmines said in its Nov. 22 report. Thirty-eight percent of victims in 2015 were children. The uptick in casualties was largely driven by militant groups’ increased use of improvised explosive devices. While the group counted victims in 56 countries, the vast majority of casualties were recorded in just five countries: Afghanistan, Syria, Libya, Yemen, and Ukraine. The mine-action group reports that about 66 square miles of minefields were cleared worldwide last year, mostly in Cambodia, Croatia, and Afghanistan.
November 18, 2016
Children’s lives and futures at risk in Africa’s Lake Chad region
Hunger and conflict are taking a heavy toll on children and families in the areas of Nigeria, Cameroon, Niger, and Chad near the Lake Chad water basin. More than 9.2 million people are affected, including 475,000 children with signs of malnutrition. About 2.6 million people have fled increasing violence emanating from northeast Nigeria to live in primitive camps or crowded host communities. World Vision provides assistance to 195,000 people in Diffa, Niger; and it is scaling up operations in water and sanitation, food and cash programming, child protection, and youth engagement to include Baga Sola, a region of Chad.
A new toll-free child helpline system makes it easier for children to call police and report child rights issues in Rwanda. A fundamental part of World Vision’s child protection systems in Rwanda, the helpline links children instantly to resources and emergency assistance. “There is no way children can enjoy life in all its fullness when they still face abuse and violence,” says George Gitau, World Vision’s national director in Rwanda. World Vision conceived the helpline and developed it in partnership with the Rwanda National Police. Read more about World Vision’s history in Rwanda.
Paulo Uchôa, who runs the Children of God ministry in Fortaleza, Brazil, won the 2016 Bob Pierce Award. For 20 years, Paulo has worked in Fortaleza—which has the highest adolescent homicide rate in Brazil—to engage youth in sports, arts, culture, and Christian values. The Bob Pierce Award, named for World Vision’s founder, recognizes those whose work combines humanitarian service with Christian mission. “It’s like a mission that God gave me, and I accepted,” says Paulo. “This is a tiring and dangerous job, but it’s not in vain.”
November 7, 2016
New study reports that children’s stunting starts before birth
Researchers at Harvard’s Chan School of Public Health say that in addition to childhood malnutrition, lack of sanitation, and infectious diseases, the biggest factor determining whether a child is stunted may be his or her mother’s diet during pregnancy. The problem is likely inter-generational, experts say, with stunted mothers giving birth to stunted children. Globally, one-third of children under age 5 are stunted, which limits their long-term physical and cognitive development. U.N. member states have pledged to reduce the global rate of stunting by 40 percent by 2030.
Myanmar allows aid to Rakhine communities displaced by violence
Myanmar’s leaders allowed humanitarian aid to resume last week to reach people displaced by violence in Rakhine state, Reuters reported Nov 3. About 15,000 people have been cut off from outside efforts to provide help since a militant group attacked a police border station and sparked clashes with the military. “We talked to two groups of villagers who haven’t had any food for a while,” said U.S. Ambassador Scot Marciel, who was part of a group of diplomats visiting the area. “So the government has agreed to restoring humanitarian assistance to them, which is a good step.” Recent violence was the worst to affect Rakhine state since communal clashes killed hundreds in 2012. Myanmar is home to 1.1 million Rohingya Muslims, who make up the majority of Rakhine state and are particularly vulnerable due to widely held prejudices among majority groups and lack of legal rights. World Vision operates four community development areas in Rakhine state.
October 28, 2016
Global Slavery Index: 45.8 million modern slaves worldwide
Nearly 46 million people are caught up in some form of modern slavery, according to the Walk Free Foundation’s 2016 Global Slavery Index. The index ranks 167 countries based on the percentage of their population estimated to be enslaved. The top five countries with the most people per capita in slavery include North Korea, Uzbekistan, Cambodia, India, and Qatar. Fifty-eight percent of all people in slavery live in five countries: India, China, Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Uzbekistan. Of the countries listed, 150 of their governments provide some form of services for victims of modern slavery, and 124 have criminalized human trafficking in line with U.N. standards. The index estimates more than 57,000 people are modern slaves in the United States. A situation is considered “modern slavery” if a person takes away another person’s freedom to control their body or their freedom to choose or refuse certain work in order to exploit them. Explore the Global Slavery Index. Advocate to protect children from violence and exploitation.
October 24, 2016
Tackling urban poverty
By 2050, more than 75 percent of the world’s population will live in cities. Many cities don’t have the infrastructure and services to meet the needs of poor families who flock to them in search of opportunities. Habitat III, a recent U.N. conference on sustainable urban development in Quito, Ecuador, outlined new, pro-poor ways to build, manage, and live in cities in a New Urban Agenda. They include extending basic services to all residents and creating “safe, accessible, and green” public spaces. World Vision co-chaired the conference activities related to better city living for children and youth.
October 14, 2016
Report: Girls spend 40 percent more time than boys on domestic chores
Somali girls ages 10 to 14 spend an average of 26 hours per week doing household chores. That’s the most anywhere in the world, according to an Oct. 7 UNICEF report that estimated the amount of time children aged 5 to 14 spend on chores. The findings show that girls spend 40 percent more time than boys doing unpaid work in the home. That pans out to an estimated 160 million more hours per day of chores than boys their age do. “As a result, girls sacrifice important opportunities to learn, grow, and just enjoy their childhood,” said UNICEF’s Principal Gender Adviser Anju Malhotra.
World Bank: 385 million children living in extreme poverty
Almost one child in five in developing countries lives in a household that survives on $1.90 or less per day per person, according to a new analysis from the World Bank and UNICEF. That amounts to about 385 million children living in extreme poverty worldwide, more than the entire U.S.population of 321 million. The 2013 data the groups studied also suggests that children are more than twice as likely as adults to live in such circumstances. “Children are not only more likely to be living in extreme poverty; the effects of poverty are most damaging to children,” said UNICEF Executive Director Anthony Lake. “They are the worst off of the worst off — and the youngest children are the worst off of all, because the deprivations they suffer affect the development of their bodies and their minds.” Among the worst and most damaging effects of poverty for children, especially those younger than 5, is severe malnutrition that results in stunting. Stunted children tend to be short for their age, have learning difficulties, and ultimately can lose out on economic opportunity later in life.
October 3, 2016
No more measles in the Americas
The Pan-American Health Organization announced on Sept. 27 that the spread of measles has been eliminated in the 47 countries of North, South, and Central America, and the Caribbean. If a case occurs now, the infection will have come from outside the region. Measles is highly contagious and is a leading cause of death in young children, though it can be prevented by vaccination. Worldwide, some 115,000 children died from measles last year. The latest outbreaks in the Americas were in January 2015, in the U.S., Canada, and Brazil.
Air pollution: Dirty air kills
Ninety-two percent of the world’s population breathes unhealthy air, per the World Health Organization (WHO) in a new report. Southeast Asia’s rapidly growing and traffic-choked urban centers are among the worst-affected areas. Each year about 3 million deaths from cardiovascular, pulmonary, and other non-communicable diseases can be attributed to outdoor air pollution. Among the major polluters are coal-fired power plants, inefficient modes of transportation, and burning trash piles. The WHO’s director for public health and the environment, María P. Neira, told The New York Times that “the trends are still going in the wrong direction.”
September 23, 2016
Are the world’s 2030 health goals out of reach?
A baseline study of global health indicators casts doubt on the world’s ability to meet the Sustainable Development Goal to “ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages” with measurable results by 2030. Using health data covering the past 25 years, researchers with Seattle’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluations looked at health trends in 188 countries. Somalia, South Sudan, and the Central African Republic showed little progress. Others, including Syria and Libya, saw health indicators decline due to war. One exception to the gloomy outlook is maternal and child health. The study’s authors say 60 percent of countries have already met their 2030 goals for preventing maternal and child deaths.
September 16, 2016
Refugee children five times more likely to be out of school
The U.N. refugee agency reports that more than 6 million child refugees have no school to attend. For primary grades, 50 percent of children have education opportunities, compared to a global average of 90 percent. The education gap widens significantly as refugee children age. More than half of out-of-school refugees are in seven countries: Chad, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia, Kenya, Lebanon, Pakistan, and Turkey.
Alliance of U.S. NGOs announces $1.2 billion humanitarian investment
Ahead of the U.N. refugee summit and a Sept. 20 global leaders meeting called by President Obama, 31 U.S.-based humanitarian organizations — including World Vision U.S. — have pledged to collectively invest more than $1 billion from private sources to assist refugees over the next three years. The announcement was made by Sam Worthington, CEO of InterAction, the largest U.S. alliance of aid organizations. Participating humanitarian groups will provide urgent medical assistance, food and nutrition security, shelter, education, and other services to refugees and displaced people.
September 9, 2016
Report: Half of world’s refugees are children
Half of the refugees in the world are children, the United Nations Children’s Fund said in a report released Sept. 7 highlighting the plight of children displaced by conflict or as migrants. The report, “Uprooted: The growing crisis for refugee and migrant children,” seeks to bring together the best available data on displaced children’s lives to help address their rights and needs when they’re most vulnerable.
The report shows that more than 50 million children worldwide have been uprooted from their homes, including 28 million displaced by conflict or violence. One in three children living outside their home country is a refugee, and there were twice as many refugee children in 2015 as in 2005. In 2015, more than 100,000 unaccompanied minors applied for asylum in 78 countries — triple the number of child asylum seekers in 2014. World Vision works in some of the most difficult humanitarian crises affecting displaced children, including Syria, South Sudan, and the Central African Republic.
U.S. gives Laos $90 million to clear unexploded Vietnam War-era bombs
The U.S. government announced Sept. 6 it would give Laos $90 million to continue efforts to clear unexploded ordnance dropped during the Vietnam War. The pledge came during President Obama’s visit to the country for a regional summit and aims, in part, to continue programs that support victims of the leftover bombs over the next three years. From 1964 to 1973, U.S. warplanes dropped more than 270 million cluster munitions on Laos. One in three bombs did not explode. A landmine monitoring group estimates that 50,000 people in Laos have been killed or injured by air-dropped ordnance since 1964. Contaminating workable fields, it has hindered economic development for the country, which relies heavily on agriculture. Thanks in part to U.S. help over the past 20 years, Laos has reduced annual casualties from unexploded ordnance from about 300 people to fewer than 50. Along with awareness training, World Vision cooperates with the Laos government and nongovernmental organization Mine Action Group to remove mines and certify land released for agriculture and development. So far, more than 1,000 acres have been cleared and more than 2,120 bombs and mines destroyed.
WHO declares Sri Lanka malaria free
Once one of the most malaria-affected places in the world, Sri Lanka is now free of the virus, the World Health Organization said Sept. 5. About 80 percent of Sri Lankans live in rural areas vulnerable to malaria. The country struggled to quell malaria in the 1970s and 1980s, while cases soared. Health officials redoubled efforts in the 1990s and saw significant reductions in the virus. By 2006, the WHO said, Sri Lanka saw less than 1,000 cases of malaria per year, and since October 2012, the country has not recorded a single locally transmitted case.
Haiti sees huge increase in cholera cases in first half of 2016
Between January and July, the number of deaths due to cholera in Haiti rose 32 percent over the same period last year, the U.N. humanitarian office reported in July. The total number of cases is up 22 percent from that same period. In all, Haiti experienced more than 24,500 new suspected cases of cholera in the first half of 2016, with 227 resulting in death. The agency anticipates the total number of cases could reach 50,000 by the end of the year. It blamed dwindling resources, poor water and sanitation infrastructure, and high population density in urban areas for the disease’s persistence since the devastating 2010 earthquake. Between October 2010 and July 2016, nearly 9,400 Haitians died from cholera, and health officials documented about 785,000 cases. Cholera is an acute intestinal infection caused by consuming contaminated food or water. It can result in severe diarrhea, vomiting, and dehydration. With rehydration and antibiotics, it can be cured quickly and easily.
Remembering a fallen humanitarian worker
In Memoriam: On Sept. 6, Silvano Garisano, a World Vision staff member in South Sudan, was killed along with his wife, one of their children, and another family member. Silvano worked on health projects in the embattled country. Join us in thanking God for his life and the lives of others killed, and pray for Silvano’s two surviving children, his extended family, colleagues, and those he faithfully served.
September 2, 2016
More than 1 million children risk losing school meals in west and central Africa
School children in west and central Africa who rely on meals from the World Food Program could miss out on lunch, the organization said Aug. 30. Budget tightening could affect 1.3 million children in those regions, as resources for school feeding programs dwindle and donors’ priorities shift. Students in Mali, Mauritania, Niger, and 12 other countries may have to start the year without vital school meals unless the U.N. food agency receives a new infusion of funds in September. “In most countries in west and central Africa — in the grip of chronic hunger and malnutrition, and increasingly affected by conflict — school meals have been a lifeline for children, as they are often the only regular and nutritious meals they receive,” WFP’s regional director for west Africa, Abdou Dieng, said in a news release. The agency’s school meal programs in Chad, which once assisted 200,000 children, have shrunk by about 90 percent in three years because of funding shortfalls.
Thailand jails man for 35 years in high-profile trafficking case
A Thai court sentenced a man to 35 years in prison Aug. 31 for smuggling people from Myanmar, the Thompson Reuters Foundation reported. The high-profile trafficking investigation led authorities to hidden jungle camps, mass graves, and an international trafficking ring. The sentencing came 19 months after Thai police discovered a group of nearly 100 ethnic Rohingya men, women, and children at a checkpoint being transported in five vehicles. The Rohingya people have been caught up in deadly religious violence in Myanmar since 2012 and have been vulnerable to human traffickers who exploit families displaced by violence or seeking job opportunities.
10 countries with highest out-of-school rates account for 18 million non-attenders
Eighteen million primary school-age children in 10 countries are out of school this year, the United Nations Children’s Fund said in a Sept. 1 report. The 10 countries with the highest rates of children not attending primary school include Liberia and South Sudan. In Liberia, nearly two-thirds of primary school-aged children are out of school. South Sudan has the second-highest out-of-school rate among elementary school students — 59 percent. One in three schools there is closed. UNICEF also highlights Afghanistan, Sudan, Niger, and Nigeria among the top countries with the highest primary out-of-school rates, at 46 percent, 45 percent, 38 percent, and 34 percent, respectively.
August 29, 2016
Los Angeles sting nets nearly 300 trafficking arrests
A massive, three-day sweep led to recent arrests of 286 persons in the Los Angeles area, most on charges of prostitution. Victims are receiving care in protective custody. Among U.S. states, California has the largest number of human trafficking cases reported; more than 500 sex trafficking cases have been reported there this year. According to the U.S. State Department’s 2016 Trafficking in Person Report, the top three countries of origin for persons trafficked for sex or labor in the United States are the U.S. itself, Mexico, and the Philippines.
August 19, 2016
Attacks on aid workers down in 2015
The year 2015 saw the second straight drop in attacks against aid workers, per the 2016 Aid Worker Security Report. The report shows that 287 aid workers were affected in 148 incidents recorded in 25 countries last year. That’s 42 fewer victims and a 22 percent drop in the number of attacks in 2014.
Afghanistan remained the most dangerous country for aid workers, accounting for 53 incidents and 101 victims. Somalia was the second-worst and South Sudan the third-most dangerous place. Syria and Yemen were among the top five most dangerous places for aid workers. Of the victims recorded in 2015, 109 were killed, 110 injured, and 68 survived being kidnapped. The majority of workers affected in Afghanistan were kidnapped. In Somalia, most were affected by shootings. And aid workers in South Sudan most often experienced shootings or bodily assaults, including rape.
World Vision operates in four of the five most dangerous countries for aid workers. The deadliest year in the past five years — 2013 — saw 475 workers affected by 265 incidents.
Worst of El Niño over, but 60 million still feel the effects
The strongest El Niño climate-warming phenomenon in nearly 20 years is over, say scientists at the World Meteorological Organization. But that will provide little comfort to the 60 million people whose crops and livelihoods were negatively impacted by increased and more severe droughts since 2014.
The most vulnerable people are families that rely on farming or wages from jobs as day-laborers. People in Central America, Southern Africa, and the Pacific Islands are particularly hard-hit. Humanitarian groups say these families will feel the effects into the next planting season. The meteorological organization predicts a fair chance of a La Niña cooling trend lasting through 2016. Areas now experiencing drought could face flooding, and areas that have received excessive rainfall could experience drought.
World Vision has so far provided assistance to 5 million people affected by El Niño, including emergency aid and programs to increase long-term resilience.
High water brings destruction in south Louisiana
At least 13 people have died and some 40,000 homes are damaged from Louisiana’s worst flooding since Hurricane Katrina. Twenty parishes have been declared disaster areas. And the worst is not over; water is still rising in southern Louisiana as floodwaters continue to drain, causing rivers and backwaters to overflow.
World Vision has sent a truckload of emergency goods, including hygiene items and cleaning supplies, to Baton Rouge. A network of partner churches will distribute the aid to families in need.
August 12, 2016
Refugee agency seeks extra funding to resettle displaced Somalis
The United Nations Refugee Agency is asking for an additional $115 million to ramp up its efforts to provide assistance to and repatriate tens of thousands of Somali refugees living in the world’s largest refugee camp, Dadaab. Earlier this year, the Kenyan government announced its intent to close the camp due to increased security threats it said originated from activity in the camp.
The refugee agency says it could help reduce the population in Dadaab by about 150,000 people by the end of 2016. The camp lies near Kenya’s eastern border with Somalia and has been a refuge for more than 300,000 people fleeing conflict and severe drought in Somalia since the 1990s. World Vision provides ongoing support to refugees there, including food assistance.
Colombia expands efforts to return land lost during conflict
More displaced Colombians will soon be able to return to their property that was stolen or abandoned during five decades of civil conflict, Reuters reported Aug. 9. In the wake of a historic peace agreement in June, the government is ramping up its land-restitution program to help families recover almost 39,000 square miles of land that was abandoned during fighting or stolen by armed rebel groups. The land restitution program began in 2011 and has, until now, struggled to process the 80,000 claims. It has already awarded about 494,000 acres worth of land titles to about 20,000 Colombian citizens.
India investigates child deaths in mica mines
Officials in India have begun investigating seven child deaths in illegal mica mines, highlighting concerns over child labor practices in the country. The deaths were revealed in a recent Thompson Reuters Foundation investigative report that found evidence that mine owners and parents covered up the incidents to preserve economic opportunity in their communities.
India law forbids children under the age of 18 to work in mines and similar hazardous enterprises. But, as interviews in the extensive multimedia report highlight, children of extremely poor families often join their parents in the work at the mines to help the household make ends meet. Global demand for mica — a shiny, silicate mineral — has significantly increased in recent years, due to its prolific use in electronics, automotive paint, and environmentally friendly cosmetics.
New polio cases in Nigeria set back global eradication efforts
The drive to wipe out polio worldwide was dealt a major setback when health workers discovered two cases of paralysis caused by the virus in Nigeria, the World Health Organization announced Aug. 11. The organization had hoped to declare the continent polio-free and focus on eliminating the virus in Pakistan and Afghanistan. Until now the only areas known to have the strain that paralyzes.
It had been two years since Nigeria had reported any polio cases, just a year shy of being declared free of the virus. “The overriding priority now is to rapidly immunize all children around the affected area and ensure that no other children succumb to this terrible disease,” said WHO Regional Director for Africa, Dr. Matshidiso Moeti, in the organization’s announcement.
August 7, 2016
Tanzania court rules against child marriage
In July, Tanzania’s highest court outlawed marriage for girls and boys under 18. The landmark ruling raised the legal age for marriage for girls from 14. A week earlier the court imposed a punishment of up to 30 years for men who marry a primary- or secondary-school-age girl. Tanzania has one of the world’s highest child marriage rates. About 37 percent of girls there marry by their 18th birthday. The court decision is considered a win for advocacy groups. According to Reuters and BBC reports, rights groups say the new policy is not a full solution and needs to be taken further by helping communities change their minds about marrying off their daughters at a young age. The Gambia also banned child marriage in July.
July 21, 2016
Airstrike damages World Vision child protection center in Syria
A World Vision-supported child protection center based in a school in northern Syria was damaged by an airstrike Saturday, July 16. Though the impact was about 100 yards from the school, the intense blast blew out the school’s windows and doors, crumbled exterior steps, and punched holes in the walls.
None of the 400 children who come there for psychosocial support were at the center, “but tragically, an 11-year old boy who was nearby was killed,” says Dr. Christine Latif, World Vision’s response manager for Turkey and northern Syria.
“The children of Syria have experienced more hardship, devastation, and violence than any child should have to in a thousand lifetimes,” she says.
In July, World Vision took over operation of the center from another international nongovernmental organization. The program will continue without interruption.
July 11, 2016
Super Typhoon Nepartak slams Taiwan and rain-soaked China
Taiwan and mainland China are reeling from the impact of Typhoon Nepartak, which skirted the Philippines’ coast last week with 170-mph winds. Though Nepartak was downgraded to a tropical storm by the time it reached southern China, people there are still in jeopardy, having experienced rainstorms and flooding since May. Earlier rains affected 26 Chinese provinces. More than 180 people died, and nearly 1.5 million evacuated. World Vision distributed quilts, relief kits for families and children, and set up Child-Friendly Spaces where children can gather and play. The organization expects to assist with recovery for at least 15 months.
U.S. Congress passes Global Food Security Act
A bipartisan bill that saw final passage last week will help alleviate hunger and malnutrition, which affect 795 million people around the world, including 159 million children. The Global Food Security Act of 2016 supports a country-led approach in agriculture development to help fight chronic hunger and food insecurity. The bill has a strong focus on nutrition for mothers and children and providing agricultural resources for smallholder farmers, including women. World Vision implements agriculture development and food assistance programs in 35 countries.
July 4, 2016
UNICEF child report challenges the world to stay on task
If the world fails to tackle the root causes of poverty, 167 million children will live in extreme poverty by 2030 and 69 million children younger than 5 will die between now, according to UNICEF’s 2016 State of the World’s Children report. The agency paints a picture of what life for millions of children worldwide might look like by 2030, the deadline for the new Sustainable Development Goals adopted by United Nations member states in 2015. Despite major gains since 1990 in the fight against poverty, growing social and economic inequality could hinder future progress, per the report. Both the number and rate of child deaths has been cut in half, but still, each year, about 5.9 million children die from preventable causes. The poorest children are twice as likely as their richest peers to be chronically malnourished and to die before their fifth birthday. Based on current trends, the report predicts sub-Saharan Africa will account for nearly half of the 69 million children who may die before age 5 between now and 2030 and more than half of the 60 million primary school-aged children who will still be out of school.
India water issues spur communal clashes
Authorities in India are reporting a rise in violent clashes among communities because of water shortages, the Thompson Reuters Foundation reported June 29. Disputes are common, and as resources continue to dwindle, the incidents are more frequent and deadly. The country has faced below-average rainfall each year for the past decade. Two consecutive severe droughts and heat waves have made it worse for millions in northern and central India who struggle to find reliable water sources. Monsoon rains recently began throughout much of the country, but it will take time for the dozens of nearly depleted reservoirs to replenish.
Trafficking report calls for prevention against $150 billion business of human slavery
This year’s Trafficking in Persons Report, released by the U.S. State Department on June 30, examines 188 countries’ progress in eliminating human trafficking. Countries are rated, and those with the worst rating are subject to economic sanctions by the U.S. government. This year’s report emphasizes prevention, with the hopeful message that, as Secretary of State John Kerry said, “…just because a certain abuse has happened in the past doesn’t mean we have to tolerate that abuse in the future.” Preventive measures include public campaigns to spread awareness of trafficking practices and laws, along with national and community networks to intervene on behalf of children and others who could be vulnerable to abuse.
June 20, 2016
Number of displaced in Afghanistan doubles since 2013
Today more than 1.2 million people are displaced within Afghanistan which has a total population of about 30 million. That’s more than double the number of internally displaced people (IDPs) as of three years ago, human rights group Amnesty International reported May 31. There were about 500,000 people displaced within Afghanistan in 2013. In addition to internal displacement, Afghans make up one of the largest groups of refugees in the world — about 2.6 million currently live outside of the country. The sharp rise is due to Western forces withdrawing from the country, according to the BBC. Exacerbating the situation for IDPs is a 2014 government policy that promised better access to food, water, and education, which has not delivered.
June 13, 2016
More Nigerians displaced after latest extremist attacks
Another 50,000 to 75,000 Nigerians have been displaced by extremist attacks since May 19 and need immediate assistance across the border in Niger, according to ACAPS, a humanitarian information agency. This puts the total number of people displaced by Nigeria’s conflict at more than 240,000 people, nearly half of whom have sought refuge in neighboring Niger, near Diffa. World Vision has been responding to the crisis there by providing displaced families with clean water, food assistance, help meeting their most pressing needs, and education opportunities for children.
Honduras gang violence forcing more to flee
Thousands of people are fleeing their homes in Honduras every month because of gang violence, the Thompson Reuters Foundation reported June 3. The mass displacement has been on the rise since December and is fueled primarily by urban violence between rival gangs. Many families are resettling in other parts of Honduras. Many, including unaccompanied children from other Central American countries, are fleeing similar circumstances and attempting to get into the United States. More than 27,700 unaccompanied children were apprehended at the U.S.-Mexico border between September 2015 and March 2016, according to U.S. Customs and Border Protection.
Global Peace Index shows growing gap between most, least peaceful countries
The world has become slightly less peaceful since 2015, and the gap continues to grow between the most and the least peaceful nations, according to the 2016 Global Peace Index, released June 8. While 81 countries improved according to the index, the 79 that became less peaceful fell far enough to outweigh the improved countries’ gains. The report also highlighted a historic decline in world peace over the past decade, compared with the significant progress in the decades since World War II. This was largely driven by global terrorism and conflict in the Middle East and North Africa, it said. The index measures 163 countries by looking at factors such as the impact of terrorism; the number of deaths due to internal conflict, violent demonstrations, and military expenditure; and the number of refugees and internally displaced people. The report also noted that the world invests just $15 billion per year on peacekeeping and peace building, which is just 2 percent of the $13.6 trillion in economic losses due to conflict.
June 6, 2016
Refugee host communities in Horn of Africa to get financial boost
Communities hosting refugees and displaced people in the Horn of Africa will soon get help after leaders at the World Bank approved $175 million in funding May 31. The financing, mostly in the form of low- to no-interest loans, seeks to mitigate the economic effects on host communities, such as strain on infrastructure, public utilities, and schools, as well as promote stability and more economic opportunity.
Ethiopia will receive $100 million,
Uganda is slated to get $50 million,
and Djibouti will receive $20 million.
The remaining $5 million is intended as a grant to the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) in East Africa.
About 9.5 million people are displaced in the Horn of Africa, including 6.5 million displaced within their own countries and about 3 million who have fled their home countries as refugees, the bank said in a press release.
Aid workers killed in Afghanistan, South Sudan
Gunmen shot and killed three aid workers in eastern Afghanistan June 1, the Thompson Reuters Foundation reported. All three were local employees working for an international non-governmental organization and were driving along a rural road north of Kabul, the capital. Another humanitarian was killed May 15 after she was attacked while driving an ambulance from a medical center in Yei, South Sudan, OCHA reported in its May 30 Humanitarian Bulletin from South Sudan. In 2014, according to the 2015 Aid Worker Security Report:
121 aid workers were killed,
and 120 kidnapped.
Afghanistan was the most violent place for aid workers, accounting for 54 attacks. South Sudan was the third most dangerous place, with 18 attacks.
May 30, 2016
World Humanitarian Summit gets mixed reviews
World leaders have talked. Now people want action. That’s the sentiment coming from aid experts after the first-ever World Humanitarian Summit concluded May 24 in Istanbul, Turkey. Governments and aid groups gathered May 23 and 24 to discuss and make commitments toward reforming humanitarian finance, preventing conflict, reducing forced displacement, understanding the impact of emergencies on women and girls, and managing natural disaster risk and preparedness. Participants pledged toward a new emergency schooling fund aimed at raising $3.8 billion and a deal between major donors and agencies to save up to $1 billion by more efficiently administering aid, among other pledges. World Vision leaders participated in some high-level panels and discussions, offering a mixed review. “Despite many positive outcomes at the summit, the lack of attention to child protection remains particularly disappointing in the face of multiple protection crises around the world, in places like Syria, South Sudan, and the Central African Republic,” World Vision leaders said after the summit.
World Bank reports cities are ‘woefully unprepared’ for rising disaster risk
The world is not adequately prepared for the adverse effects of growing urban populations and increasingly frequent natural disasters, the World Bank and a leading disaster risk reduction agency say in a report released May 16. It says that by 2050, rapid urbanization and lack of preparedness could put 1.3 billion people and $158 trillion in assets at risk from flooding. A driving risk factor, a World Bank expert says, is a lack of planning and risk assessment in urban development. Substantiating the claim that decision-makers must plan more carefully, the report cites data from the international disaster database EM-DAT that says annual damages from natural disasters worldwide have increased from $14 billion in the decade 1976-1985 to more than $140 billion in 2005-2014.
May 23, 2016
Humanitarian aid funding hit record $28 billion in 2015
The total value of humanitarian assistance given out in 2015 hit a record high of $28 billion, according to a report released May 19 by Development Initiatives, an independent development organization that focuses on using data to drive poverty eradication efforts. This is the third straight year the organization has recorded a rise in global humanitarian giving. Private contributions accounted for about $6.2 billion, while governments gave about $21.8 billion to humanitarian crises. While this funding set a record, the world would need to give almost twice as much to fully fund current U.N.-coordinated aid appeals. The report notes that 677 million people who live in extreme poverty are highly vulnerable to crisis. At the World Humanitarian Summit May 23 and 24 in Istanbul, leaders will consider, among other things, how to deliver humanitarian funding more efficiently and effectively.
330 million affected in India drought
Nearly a quarter of India’s population, 330 million people, is feeling the effects of a drought worsened recently by an oppressive heat wave. Temperatures have reached 107 degrees Fahrenheit for days on end in some areas, exacerbating water shortages, ruining crops, and causing at least 100 deaths due to heatstroke. World Vision is mounting a response over the next six months to help the communities of as many as 33,500 children registered in its sponsorship programs. So far, World Vision staff have reached more than 22,500 people with food, water, and materials to help maintain their livelihoods.
Five countries where child soldiers are still recruited
With the largest rebel group in Colombia recently agreeing to release all of its soldiers under age 15, independent humanitarian news agency IRIN News published a report May 17 highlighting how child soldiers have been used in five other countries. Featured countries include South Sudan, Myanmar, Britain, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and Yemen. Britain was cited due to its historical practice of recruiting 16-year-olds and deploying some 17-year-olds in the 1991 Gulf War and Kosovo in 1999. The government later barred deployment of anyone younger than 18. Britain’s army still recruits under-age soldiers but requires parental consent for enlistment. Learn more about child soldiers in Myanmar, South Sudan, Yemen, and DRC.
May 16, 2016
World Humanitarian Summit tests aid community’s will to grow, change
Government and humanitarian leaders from around the world meet May 23 and 24 in Istanbul for the first ever World Humanitarian Summit. The summit aims to reinvigorate the world’s commitment to humanitarian principles, share ideas on how to improve aid and development work, and create plans for action. Key themes covered at the summit will include: reforming humanitarian finance, preventing conflict, reducing forced displacement, understanding the impact of emergencies on women and girls, and managing natural disaster risk and preparedness. World Vision will participate in high-level talks at the event and has played a significant role in getting talks about faith in humanitarian response on the agenda.
Kenya plans to close largest refugee camp amid security concerns
Kenya announced in early May it plans to close Dadaab refugee camp, which hosts more than half of the 600,000 people taking refuge inside the country. Government leaders cited national security as the reason. They said the deadly 2013 attacks in Nairobi and the 2015 massacre in Garissa were planned and launched in Dadaab, near the Somali border. Various governments and aid agencies, including World Vision, have decried the decision, asking Kenya’s leaders to reconsider. Home to as many as 350,000 people, Dadaab is considered the world’s largest refugee camp. Most Dadaab residents fled drought and conflict in Somalia over the past 25 years. Kakuma refugee camp, in the northwest, was originally considered for closure, but Kenya’s government changed its mind, deciding to focus on closing Dadaab by November. South Sudanese make up more than half of the 190,000 refugees in Kakuma. The camp was enlarged in 2015 to accommodate as many as 80,000 refugees from the civil war in South Sudan.
May 9, 2016
Global water shortages to deliver ‘severe hit’ to economies, World Bank warns
By 2050, water shortages could diminish gross domestic product in the Middle East by 14 percent, according to World Bank analysts in The Guardian. Increasing demand for water in cities and for agriculture could lead to a:
12 percent reduction in GDP in West Africa’s Sahel region,
As much as an 11 percent loss throughout central Asia, and a
7 percent reduction in Asia.
The bank says worsening water shortages will lead to more conflict and migration over the next few decades. Economies in North America and western Europe will not see much impact due to water shortages, per the report. It cites warming temperatures, more erratic weather patterns, and increased demand from growing populations as key factors in its predictions.
New fund for education in conflict areas
One in four school-age children in the world lives in a country affected by war or disaster, according to UNICEF as the agency announced a new fund to educate children during emergencies. The Education Cannot Wait fund will launch later this month during the World Humanitarian Summit in Istanbul, with a goal of raising nearly $4 billion to reach 13.6 million children in its first five years. “Going to school keeps children safe from abuses like trafficking and recruitment into armed groups, and is a vital investment in children’s futures and in the future of their communities,” said Josephine Bourne, UNICEF’s education chief. About 75 million children ages 3 to 18 living in 35 countries are most in need of educational support.
Polio vaccine swap complete
In a two-week period, health workers in 155 countries swapped out their entire stock of a polio vaccine considered harmful to eradication efforts, said leaders with the World Health Organization’s polio program. In many developing countries, oral vaccine that had been used for more than 60 years has brought the world to the cusp of eradicating polio. But a problem has arisen: Children take the vaccine, but due to poor sanitation systems, when they defecate, the virus’ cells get into the water supply via their feces. Then if someone drinks from that supply, it can cause them to get the disease if they aren’t already vaccinated. In recent years, dozens of children contracted a version of the virus in this manner that was spread through poor sanitation. In 2015, 74 children were paralyzed by wild polio viruses in the only two countries where the virus persists — Pakistan and Afghanistan. So far, just 10 cases have been reported in 2016. That compares with the 350,000 children who contracted the paralyzing virus in annually in the 1980s. Learn more about the switch and efforts to completely eradicate polio here. The U.S. uses a different polio vaccine than this one.
Yellow fever outbreak spreads to DRC, Zambia
A yellow fever outbreak that began in Angola earlier this year has spread to the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and an increasing number of cases in Zambia is raising concerns about a full-on outbreak there, the World Health Organization and various groups reported in early May. World Vision staff in all three countries are on high alert as they prepare to help affected communities. Yellow fever is spread by the same mosquito that transmits the Zika virus — Aedes Aegypti. Between early January to March 22, officials in DRC reported 453 cases and 45 deaths from yellow fever. The virus causes jaundice, kidney failure, and bleeding. Symptoms include fever, headache, muscle pain, nausea, vomiting, and fatigue. Half of severely affected patients who don’t receive treatment die within 14 days.
May 2, 2016
Shots fired and missed in the war on childhood diseases
Almost two-thirds of the world’s unimmunized children live in conflict zones, said the U.N. children’s agency ahead of last week’s observance of World Immunization Week. Many pay with their lives by missing out on protection from measles, mumps, diphtheria, pneumonia, rubella, tetanus, and whooping cough. Almost one-third of deaths among children under 5 are preventable by vaccine. The global push for universal immunization has helped many developing countries to put in place systems and controls required that are the building blocks of successful community health services, the World Health Organization says.
April 25, 2016
India drought affects 330 million people
After two years of meager monsoon rains, the government of India says at least 330 million people are suffering the effects of drought, hunger, water shortages, and a severe heat wave. “This drought could turn disastrous for children if we don’t act fast,” says Cherian Thomas, World Vision’s national director for India. “Malnutrition and mortality rate among children could rise rapidly. Migration is forcing children to drop out of school, increasing instances of child labor, and causing them to live in unsafe environments.” World Vision’s initial response includes work in 15 program areas of seven states where it is already engaged in child-focused community development. Activities include distribution of food kits, livelihoods support, and supply of fodder and water to farmers.
April 18, 2016
Coming soon: First-ever World Humanitarian Summit
U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has called on governments, aid groups, private enterprises, and people affected by humanitarian crises to meet in Istanbul May 23 and 24 to discuss the state of global humanitarian action. The meeting will convene with three stated goals: global re-commitment to humanitarian principles, national and local preparation for disaster management, and sharing of best practices. As an international nongovernmental organization, World Vision has been involved in setting the agenda and will participate in discussions.
Violence against women a fixture of war and peace
A recent U.N. report accuses both sides of the South Sudan civil war of systematic rape and violence against women. In South Sudan, “massive use of rape as an instrument of terror and weapon of war … has been more or less off the international radar,” says Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein, the United Nations high commissioner for human rights. Globally, one in three women will experience sexual or physical violence, says the U.N., and in some countries, the figure is as high as 70 percent. While better laws, policies, and education are needed, women’s advocates say a “breakthrough generation” of men and women willing to interrupt sexual violence is necessary to make a lasting difference.
April 11, 2016
Parents of Nigerian schoolgirls to mark kidnapping anniversary with prayer
On April 14 two years ago, militants abducted 276 girls from the Government Secondary School in Chibok, northeast Nigeria. The shocking incident set off a worldwide outcry and viral campaign — #bringbackourgirls. Only 57 girls escaped; the rest have not been found. This year, parents have organized a Muslim-Christian prayer service at the school site to remember the lost girls. Amnesty International says the militants responsible for the Chibok kidnapping have captured thousands of boys and girls and used them as cooks, porters, sex slaves, and even suicide bombers over the past seven years.
Every day, 10 people die from explosive war remnants
In observance of Mine Action Day on April 4, the United Nations called for renewed efforts to eliminate landmines, bombs, and other explosive war remnants around the world. The legacy of conflict is often civilian deaths, sometimes decades after wars end, the U.N. says. Last year alone, U.N. agencies destroyed 168,000 explosive devices and 10,000 landmines. The top five countries for U.N. mine action were Afghanistan, Laos, Iraq, Angola, and Cambodia. [Read about World Vision’s work in mine awareness in a Lao village.]
Pakistan and Afghanistan make a pact to end polio
Polio has been cornered in the border areas of Pakistan and Afghanistan, the last two countries where the disease is endemic. Now health officials are fighting not only the disease itself but cultural norms and ignorance that have led parents of about 100,000 children on both sides of the border to refuse vaccination for their children. Local leaders and religious scholars have been enlisted to promote vaccination, and children will now receive the vaccine at border crossings. So far in 2016, only 12 cases of polio paralysis have been identified globally, down from 33 at the same time last year.
April 4, 2016
Central African Republic elects parliament
A day after its newly elected president was inaugurated, war-torn Central African Republic (CAR) went back to the polls last week to finalize parliamentary elections. Restoring a functional national government under a new constitution will be necessary for CAR to overcome the ethnic conflict that’s caused thousands of deaths and displaced more than 400,000 people since 2013. President Faustin-Archange Touadera has vowed to “preserve peace” so that the nation can chart a new course toward development. In addition to political progress, Doctors Without Borders reports that more than 73,000 of the country’s children younger than 5 were recently vaccinated in a campaign to protect against diseases like polio, hepatitis, measles, pneumonia, and meningitis.
Myanmar swears in first civilian government in 50 years
Former political prisoner Aung San Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy party has taken the reins of government from the military in Myanmar. Suu Kyi will serve as foreign minister and one of her aides, U Htin Kyaw, holds the president’s office. The military retains significant power through control of the police and security services. U Htin Kyaw promises constitutional changes that will enhance the development of democracy and a higher standard of living.
March 28, 2016
Nearly 90 million children at risk of toxic stress due to conflict
Globally, more than 86.7 million children under the age of 7 have spent their entire lives in conflict zones, endangering their mental development, says the United Nations children’s agency. The first 7 years of life are critical for a child’s mental health, emotional well-being, and ability to learn. Living in conflict puts them at risk of toxic stress, a condition that inhibits brain cell connections. In many places, World Vision provides child protection, psychosocial support, and educational opportunities for children affected by conflict.
$100 million loan from World Bank will help Lebanon educate its children, Syrian refugees
Lebanon just got $100 million from the World Bank to boost its strained education system. The bank’s board approved the loan last week to recognize and help Lebanon’s efforts to host more than 1 million Syrian refugees, providing schooling for their 400,000 children, a Thompson-Reuters Foundation report said. World Bank president Jim Yong Kim said it has already agreed to provide as much as $1 billion to the country of four million people, but government gridlock has held it back. Many have not been in school for years, or struggle to keep up in classes taught in English or French rather than their native Arabic. In October, the World Bank and United Nations aid groups announced they would provide the Lebanese with enough funding to double the number of Syrian refugees enrolled in schools, from 100,000 to about 200,000 children. Lebanon received another boost to its efforts to help refugees in early March when the World Food Program said new funding would enable it to restore emergency food aid deliveries, school meals, and monthly food baskets for millions of Syrians displaced in the region. World Vision provides support to early childhood education and gives refugee children the opportunity to learn and play in Child-Friendly Spaces.
Colombian government and rebels miss peace-deal deadline
Government and rebel negotiators missed the self-imposed March 23 deadline to reach a peace deal that would end Latin America’s longest war. Peace talks between the Colombian government and leftist rebel group, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, began in Havana, Cuba more than three years ago. Both sides said they remain committed to finding a peaceful solution to their differences and intend to resume talks April 4. They have reached agreements on issues such as land reform and justice for conflict victims. More than 40 years of civil war has killed 220,000 people and displaced millions within Colombia.
March 21, 2016
Violence against religious minorities the Middle East is ‘genocide’
Extremists in Iraq and Syria have committed genocide against minority Christians and Yazidis, as well as Shi’ite Muslims, Reuters reported the U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said March 17. The declaration does not obligate the U.S. to do more in its fight against extremists in the region, but it does make it easier to push for more action. Extremists, “ … kill Christians because they are Christians. Yazidis because they are Yazidis. Shi’ites because they are Shi’ites,” Kerry said. About 3.3 million Iraqis are displaced inside their country because of ongoing violence. About 250,000 Syrians have taken refuge there, too. Hundreds of thousands of people have been killed and more than 11 million displaced during the Syrian civil war. In 2015, World Vision assisted Iraqi refugees living in churches in Jordan with winter clothing. Inside Iraq, World Vision staff there supported churches’ efforts to care for displaced families.
Child labor numbers in India reduced 60 percent in 10 years
India had 64 percent fewer child laborers age 14 or younger in 2011 than it did a decade earlier, the country’s labor minister said March 13. The number dropped from about 12.6 million working children in 2001 to about 4.5 million in 2011. The minister cited the most recent census numbers as he urged lawmakers to amend existing child-labor laws to promote child protection. According to a 2015 report by the International Labor Organization, more than 5.7 million 5- to 17-year-olds are involved in child labor in India and about 2.5 million 15- to 17-year-olds engaging in hazardous work. If Parliament passes the proposed changes, it would outlaw child labor for children younger than 14 in all sectors. The ILO estimates there are 168 million children caught up in child labor worldwide.
March 14, 2016
Hunger intensifies in conflict-, drought-affected areas worldwide
Drought, flooding, and civil conflict have forced 34 countries to seek help from neighbors to meet their own food needs, the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization says in a report released March 9. Twenty-seven of those countries are in Africa. Development and aid organizations cite prolonged drought and persistent flooding due to El Niño weather patterns as the cause for significantly reduced crop-production outlook for 2016 in Southern Africa. Families throughout Central America and the Caribbean are heading into a precarious planting season for the third year in a row. War and conflict in countries like Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Somalia, and the Central African Republic have created similar food crises. In many cases, those food crises affect neighboring countries, who feel the economic strain of hosting refugees.
Health leaders want outbreaks like Zika, Ebola treated like earthquakes
Disaster planning and global health experts are pushing to make countries’ responses to health emergencies — like the Ebola and Zika outbreaks — as high a priority as earthquakes, floods, and storms. The World Health Organization and the UN’s Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR) asked national disaster management agencies March 10 to improve the way they prepare for and respond to public health crises. “It is understandable that there is a strong disaster management focus on earthquakes and extreme weather events which affect over 100 million people every year,” said Robert Glasser, the head of UNISDR, “but this machinery must also be ready for deployment in public health emergencies where the trigger is a virus like Zika.”
March 7, 2016
U.S. bans imported goods made with forced labor
The United States has banned the import of goods produced by forced labor, Reuters reported in late February. The new law, which President Obama signed Feb. 24, closes a legal loophole in the Tariff Act of 1930, which allowed goods produced by forced labor to enter the country if U.S. demand exceeded domestic production. Shipments of goods commonly produced by slave labor, like fish, cocoa, and electronics, will be kept out of the U.S. under the new law. “It’s a really big deal,” Annick Febrey, senior associate at the advocacy group Human Rights First says in the Reuters report. “While we as a country have said that we are against slavery, we’ve had this little-known rule in the Tariff Act.” The International Labor Organization estimates there are almost 21 million people trapped in forced labor around the world.
February 29, 2016
Humanitarian reform: Doing good, but better
Most humanitarian aid goes to alleviate suffering in crises that go on for years — think drought in Ethiopia and the Syrian civil war. Yet long-term, complex needs are often addressed with very short-term relief. That’s just one of the challenges U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon hopes to sort out in May during the first World Humanitarian Summit in Istanbul. Representatives of governments and aid agencies from around the world will be looking for ways to increase efficiency, effectiveness, and cooperation as they seek the answer to what Ban says is the knottiest problem of them all — humanitarian financing.
Hungry in Haiti
According to the U.N.’s World Food Program, 3.6 million of Haiti’s 10.4 million people can’t afford minimum daily calories. A three-year drought is driving more and more rural people to abandon their farm plots and relocate to urban areas in search of employment to feed their families. Haitians have long struggled with poor nutrition because of widespread poverty. Maternal and child health, nutrition, and access to clean water are top priorities of World Vision’s programs in Haiti.
February 22, 2016
El Niño’s tragic wake
A powerful El Niño-driven drought and erratic rains across eastern and southern Africa during the last two years has left nearly 1 million children needing treatment for severe acute malnutrition, according to a UNICEF report released last week.
“The El Niño weather phenomenon will wane, but the cost to children — many who were already living hand-to-mouth — will be felt for years to come,” said Leila Gharagozloo-Pakkala, UNICEF regional director for eastern and southern Africa. “Governments are responding with available resources, but this is an unprecedented situation. Children’s survival is dependent on action taken today.”
Families have resorted to skipping meals and selling what they own to deal with water shortages, disease, and rising food prices. Most provinces in South Africa have declared a state of disaster due to shortages and, in Ethiopia, the number of people in need of food assistance is expected to rise from more than 10 million to 18 million by the end of the year.
February 8, 2016
U.S. trafficking hotline calls increase significantly
More human trafficking survivors in the United States are getting help thanks to a significant increase in calls to a national hotline in 2015. The Polaris Project, which runs the National Human Trafficking Resource Center Hotline and a BeFree Textline, said about 1,600 survivors contacted the hotline last year. That’s a 24 percent increase from 2014. The hotline received reports of 6,000 cases in 2015. As many as 17,500 people are trafficked into the U.S. each year. The International Labor Organization estimates that 20.9 million people globally are trapped in forced labor.
February 1, 2016
Malaria fight gets financial boost
Bill Gates and the British government plan to spend $4.3 billion to help end malaria deaths in the next 15 years, the Thomson Reuters Foundation reported Jan. 25. The money will help scale up efforts to fight the disease that killed about 438,000 people out of 214 million people infected worldwide last year. The fight against malaria has seen significant progress over the past 15 years; malaria death rates fell 60 percent between 2000 and 2015. But the disease is both preventable and curable. About 90 percent of malaria deaths occur on the African continent.
Ethnic violence in Burundi spurs international concerns
The United Nations Security Council said it is concerned about mass atrocities and ethnic violence stemming from Burundi’s deteriorating political and security situation. Nearly 236,000 people have fled their homes for neighboring countries, and 400 people have been killed since political violence erupted last spring in the east African nation of about 10 million. As many as 645,000 Burundians face persistent food insecurity.
Conflict escalated when President Pierre Nkurunziza announced he would seek a third term, despite the constitution’s two-term limit. He then survived a coup attempt and won a disputed election.
January 18, 2016
Ebola epidemic ends
Two years after the first Ebola case cropped up in Guinea, the West Africa Ebola outbreak has been declared at an end. The World Health Organization (WHO) made the announcement last week that all known chains of transmission were stopped. The virus killed more than 11,000 people, primarily in Sierra Leone, Guinea, and Liberia. Strengthening health systems in low-income countries will be key to curbing future disease epidemics, according to the WHO.
The celebration was muted a day later after Sierra Leone reported one new case.
“Our burial teams and ambulance fleet are once again on standby to help as the situation unfolds,” said Samuel Fonnie, acting national director at World Vision Sierra Leone. “Ebola has taken its toll on Sierra Leone, and it will take time to contain the situation once again.”
January 11, 2016
Insurance cost of natural disasters lower in 2015
Global economic losses from natural disasters in 2015 were the lowest of any year since 2009 and well below the inflation-adjusted average of the past 30 years, Munich Re, a reinsurance organization, reported Jan. 4. Overall losses totaled about $90 billion in 2015, of which about $27 billion was insured. The annual average from 1985 to 2014 was about $130 billion in overall losses and about $34 of that being insured. The deadliest and most costly event in 2015 was the April Nepal earthquake, which killed more than 8,800 people and resulted in about $4.8 billion in losses.
Part of the reason the 2015 totals are down is that while climate phenomenon El Niño brought stronger floods and droughts to developing countries, it led to fewer and smaller storms in the North Atlantic.
January 4, 2016
Hunger looms for millions in throes of harsh El Niño season
Millions throughout East Africa, Central America, and the Middle East face hunger in 2016 stemming from the impact of particularly harsh El Niño weather conditions, according to global aid agencies. Reeling from crop loss, livestock deaths, and other disasters, residents in Ethiopia, South Sudan, and Yemen are feeling it the worst, according to the Famine Early Warning System Network.
Conflict in Yemen has limited imports and hampered humanitarian groups’ efforts to bring food and fuel to communities in need. Families in South Sudan are experiencing similar disruptions in the food supply chain due to ongoing fighting despite a recent peace agreement between government and rebel leaders. And following a severe drought in eastern Ethiopia, more people will need food assistance in 2016 than in the past 10 years.
World Vision is mounting a response throughout southern and eastern Africa and in the Pacific Islands that includes food assistance, nutritional feeding, and interventions that complement ongoing innovative resilience-building programs for the most vulnerable.
CAR holds peaceful elections Dec. 30
Despite delays and ongoing insecurity in their capital city, Bangui, voters in the Central African Republic turned out Dec. 30 to elect their next president and legislative body. Peacekeepers patrolled the streets, and the polls closed without reported violence. The country is looking to turn the page on a bloody chapter in its history marked by two years of sectarian violence that has driven more than 900,000 people — about 20 percent of the population — from their homes. World Vision has reached 152,000 people in CAR with emergency aid.
December 28, 2015
Tornadoes, storms strike Texas and southeastern U.S.
At least 41 people have died since Wednesday, Dec. 23, due to severe weather, including tornadoes and flooding, primarily in the southeastern U.S. World Vision is assisting families in Texas, northern Mississippi, and southwest Georgia. A truckload of hygiene kits, family food packs, blankets, and clothing was sent to the Garland, Texas, area from World Vision’s North Texas warehouse on Monday, Dec. 28. Recovery and rebuilding supplies will be shipped to Mississippi on Wednesday. World Vision’s relief materials will be distributed by local church
1 million refugees and migrants reach Europe
In 2015, Europe saw three to four times more refugees and migrants reach its shores than in 2014 – as many as 1 million people. Half were Syrians fleeing the war, and 20 percent were Afghans. While the refugees reaching Europe dominated media attention, they were a small percentage of the 60 million refugees and displaced persons around the globe.
10 million people reached with aid
During fiscal year 2015, World Vision conducted 115 responses to disasters of all types, including the Nepal earthquake and the Syrian refugee crisis. In 46 countries, World Vision met the needs of 10 million people with food, shelter, child protection, and other types of assistance.
December 21, 2015
Human Development Index rankings announced for 2015
The 2015 Human Development Index, released Dec. 15 by the United Nations, ranks nations by their life expectancy, education levels, and income/standard of living. Norway ranks highest and the United States came in eighth. At the bottom of this year’s development list were: Niger, the Central African Republic, Eritrea, Chad, and Burundi. (World Vision works in all these except Eritrea.) Taken as a whole, sub-Saharan Africa has shown a greater than 1 percent annual increase in its human development since 1990, but there’s still a long way to go. Torn by conflict, Libya dropped 27 places in the rankings, and Syria dropped 15.
Hungry Christmas ahead for Southern Africa children
Millions of children who eat meals at their schools in Southern Africa may be going hungry during the school holidays that take up most of December and January, according to World Vision staff. More than 15 million children in mostly rural schools rely on school feeding programs. Extreme drought in the region destroyed crops. Without adequate grazing, livestock are dying or being sold cheaply. World Vision is responding to emergency needs for food in some of the affected countries, but more resources are needed to prevent life-threatening hunger and malnutrition in Angola, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Democratic Republic of Congo, Malawi, and Lesotho, which already have high levels of malnutrition.
Climate of change produces agreement in Paris
On Dec. 12, nearly 200 countries signed a pact to curb carbon emissions in order to keep the global temperature from rising more than 2.7 degrees Fahrenheit by the end of the 21st century (measured against pre-industrial levels). Success will depend on cooperation among high-income and low-income countries, especially in funding clean-energy alternatives. The work of organizations involved in aid and development will be affected by new priorities for both developing countries and donor nations.
December 14, 2015
Disease threat follows Chennai floods
More than 50 inches of rain fell on Chennai in southeast India since November, bringing unprecedented flooding that has affected millions in Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh states. As the water recedes, medical authorities warn of possible disease outbreaks from contaminated mud and water, especially in urban areas. Relief camps lack clean water, sanitation, and solid waste management. World Vision is distributing food, water, and household supplies to families displaced by the floods.
December 7, 2015
Recognizing ‘four freedoms’ on Human Rights Day, Dec. 10
In 1941, as World War II raged in Europe, President Franklin Roosevelt addressed Congress to lay out a vision for the future based on what he called “four freedoms” — freedom of speech, of religion, from want, and from fear. Seven years later, those “freedoms” formed the basis of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which was adopted by the U.N. General Assembly on Dec. 10. Each year, the U.N. observes Human Rights Day to commemorate the 1948 signing of the declaration and other covenants that spell out the essentials that must be guaranteed to assure human dignity for every individual.
November 30, 2015
Central African Republic: Pope’s visit highlights humanitarian needs
Pope Francis ends his first trip to the African continent with a visit to Bangui, capital of the Central African Republic, Nov. 29-30, pledging to bring “consolation and hope.” About 2.7 million people, more than half of the CAR population, are in need of immediate humanitarian assistance, per the U.N. More than 6,000 people have died and 800,000 fled their homes since violent sectarian conflict began more than a year ago. Thirty-five percent of the CAR population observes animist beliefs, while Protestants and Catholics each account for 25 percent of the population and Muslims make up 15 percent. World Vision has reached 152,000 people in CAR with emergency aid.
Millions go hungry when food assistance funding dries up
A global report from World Vision finds that millions of people who rely on food, nutrition, and cash support are going without. According to “When There is No Food Assistance,” 100 million vulnerable men, women, and children annually require food aid. However, breaks in the food delivery and distribution pipeline leave many with little or nothing. World Vision itself reports being contracted to provide food assistance to 10.3 million people in 35 countries in the fiscal year ending September 2014. Yet the organization received only enough resources to help 8 million people, leaving some 2.3 million people – including 1.4 million children – without the food and nutrition they needed. The report recommends three solutions: 1. Find new money; 2. Protect lives and livelihoods; 3. Build long-term resilience.
Heavy fighting in Afghanistan’s breadbasket region of Kunduz is threatening the prospects of a healthy harvest. Farmers say their crops are ready for picking, but they can’t harvest for fear of the bombs rebel fighters have placed throughout their fields, IRIN reported Nov. 24. “The crop is ready for harvest but we cannot touch one fruit or vegetable,” Haji Hashim Khan, a 57-year-old farmer, told the humanitarian news agency. Kunduz provides almost two-thirds of Afghanistan’s rice supply and much of its wheat, watermelon, potatoes, tomatoes, cotton, and almonds. As a result of the crop losses, residents throughout the country are already experiencing higher food prices, as the nation has to import more food supplies than usual.
Weather-related disasters increase almost two-fold in past 20 years
The frequency of weather-related disasters almost doubled between 1995 and 2014, compared with records from 1985 to 1994, according to the U.N. Just a week before nearly 140 world leaders gather to work out a climate pact in Paris, the report provided details on the past 20 years of disasters related to severe weather, which account for 90 percent of all disasters. Over that period, 6,457 disasters killed 606,000 people and left 4.1 billion people injured, homeless, or in need of emergency assistance. Flooding was responsible for 47 percent of all weather-related disasters, affecting 2.3 billion people, mostly in Asia.
November 23, 2015
Burundi: Weather, violence exacerbate effects of political turmoil
More than 217,000 people have fled the country due to political violence and insecurity since April. About 15,000 people have been internally displaced, and now roughly 700,000 face severe food insecurity, according to the United Nations. In addition, heavy rains have triggered landslides in recent weeks and heightened the risk of disease outbreaks. Humanitarian groups have struggled to spark government efforts to improve the situation.
November 16, 2015
El Niño threatens 11 million children in Africa with hunger, disease
About 11 million children in east and southern Africa face hunger, disease, and water shortages due to the onset of the strongest El Niño weather pattern in decades, UNICEF said Nov. 10. Families throughout southern Africa have had a particularly rough year since widespread flooding and subsequent drought diminished crop production. They anticipate a dry stretch between October and December. World Vision leaders in the region say about 29 million people are affected, including 250,000 children sponsored through its programs in 10 countries in southern Africa.
U.N. expects Europe’s refugee flow to top 1 million this year
As many as 5,000 refugees and migrants are arriving into Europe per day through Turkey, the U.N. Refugee Agency said Nov. 5. That would add up to more than 1 million people by the end of 2015. They’re fleeing wars in Syria, Iraq, and Afghanistan, and insecurity in parts of Africa. The harsh winter months pose a potentially deadly threat to tired and vulnerable refugees and migrants. So the U.N. and other aid organizations are working to provide shelter, hot showers, heated tents, and other basics for them along their journey. World Vision staff have been responding to the growing crisis in Europe since September, providing food, water, hygiene items, and other items and services in Serbia.
Latin American disasters affect 13.2 million people in 2015
Emergencies in Latin America and the Caribbean affected 13.2 million people from January to October, the U.N.’s Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs said in its recent humanitarian bulletin. That’s almost 2 million more people than were affected by disasters in the region in all of 2014. Drought affected the largest group — 6.6 million — and rains and floods affected 2 million people thus far this year, while cold waves and other environmental emergencies disrupted the lives of about 800,000 people. Various disease epidemics have impacted more than 3.5 million people. World Vision most recently responded to Hurricane Patricia after it hit Mexico in October. Local staff also work day to day with community leaders and national governments to help families be better prepared for disasters.
November 9, 2015
Yemen: Rare cyclone adds to humanitarian needs
Hit by a rare tropical cyclone in the first few days of November, Yemen received seven times the annual rainfall – up to 24 inches – within 48 hours. More than a million people are affected on Sosotra island and Shabwah and Hadramaut governorates where the storm made landfall. Even before the cyclone, more than 21 million of the nation’s 24 million people were already in need of humanitarian aid because of conflict.
November 2, 2015
Europe: Refugees risking health and safety
Despite rain and dropping temperatures, large numbers of refugees continue to seek asylum in Europe. The majority are Syrians. During the week ending Oct. 23, 48,000 people crossed by sea from Turkey to the Greek islands, the highest number since the beginning of 2015. More than 710,000 people have made the journey since January 2015. The U.N. refugee agency reports that many refugee women and children are experiencing sexual abuse and violence. Unaccompanied children are particularly vulnerable to exploitation as they may face detention when identified by authorities.
TB rivals AIDS as top killer among infectious diseases
Approximately 1.5 million deaths are attributed to tuberculosis (TB) in 2014; 400,000 of the deceased also had AIDS. In the same period, 1.2 million people died from AIDS alone. The number of deaths from TB has been nearly cut in half since 1990, but the World Health Organization is concerned by the spread of drug-resistant forms of the disease. Most new TB cases are in China, India, Indonesia, Nigeria, and Pakistan.
October 26, 2015
Many feared dead in massive South Asia earthquake
A 7.5 magnitude earthquake shook northern Afghanistan, Pakistan, and parts of India Monday morning, collapsing buildings and sending panicked people into the streets. The Associated Press reported more than 100 deaths, including 12 girls in a girls’ school. The number of fatalities could rise sharply as rescue teams broaden their searches According to the Global Disaster Alert and Coordination System, more than 930,000 people live within 62 miles of the quake’s epicenter. Ten years ago, a magnitude 7.6 quake in the region killed 86,000 people and displaced 2 million.
Hurricane Patricia strikes Mexico’s Pacific coast
Hurricane Patricia, a category-5 storm, made landfall on Mexico’s Pacific Coast late Friday afternoon bringing torrential rain. Authorities say no loss of life was recorded, likely because tens of thousands in coastal areas evacuated. As the flood waters recede, government disaster responders and aid groups, including World Vision, are assessing the extent of damage. World Vision staff say the organization plans to focus its work on assisting recovery in the heavily-affected Mascota municipality east of Puerto Vallarta.
October 19, 2015
Typhoon Koppu strikes the Philippines
Typhoon Koppu hit Luzon, the northernmost and most populous of the Philippine islands, early Sunday morning local time. The slow-moving storm continues to bring heavy rains and flash floods overflowing major roads and bridges. World Vision has mobilized its national disaster management team to assess damage and urgent needs of people in World Vision-assisted areas affected by the storm. More than 4,600 children participate in World Vision programs in Isabela and Pangasinan in north Luzon.
Myanmar: Ceasefire agreements could bring ethnic groups into the fold
Ahead of a Nov. 8 general election, Myanmar’s government signed ceasefire agreements with armed factions of eight ethnic groups on Oct. 15. Seven ethnic groups declined the government’s ceasefire offer. Among the signers was the Karen National Union, which has fought against the Myanmar military for nearly 70 years. Conflict between the national military and ethnic minorities has held back the country’s efforts at democratizing. Both Tatmadaw, the government armed forces, and ethnic armed groups are known to recruit and deploy child soldiers.
October 12, 2015
Global migration: Crisis and opportunity?
A report released Oct. 7 by the World Bank and International Monetary Fund predicts large numbers of people will continue to migrate from poorer countries to wealthier ones for decades to come. These population shifts will have significant effects on economic development. The mass movement of refugees and migrants will be a major concern for relief and development organizations, including World Vision. A potential upside: The demographic changes brought about through migration could increase the size of the labor force in countries that are now facing aging populations.
It’s a girl’s world on Oct. 11
The fourth observance of the U.N.’s International Day of the Girl Child, on Oct. 11, follows closely behind the global commitment on Sept. 25 to eliminate extreme poverty by 2030 through the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). In a statement released Oct. 9, Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, executive director of U.N. Women, said gender inequality “stood in the way of the achievement of the high hopes of the MDGs,” the prior global anti-poverty plan. She cited two statistics that she said should galvanize global action to improve the lives of girls: “More than 250 million of our 15-year-olds are already married … And every 10 minutes, somewhere in the world, an adolescent girl dies by violent means.”
October 5, 2015
CAR: Aid agencies close as violence flares up
World Vision and other aid groups were forced to temporarily suspend operations in the Central African Republic (CAR) after an outbreak of protests turned deadly last week in Bangui, the capital.
A flare-up in violence Sept. 26 killed at least 30 people and displaced thousands, the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs reported Sept. 30.
Nearly two years of fighting in the country of about 4.5 million displaced 370,000 people and caused 470,000 to flee to neighboring countries. World Vision is providing food aid to schools and communities in need; operating Child-Friendly Spaces for children to play, learn, and receive counseling; and training community leaders in child protection and peace building.
El Salvador: drought brings widespread crop loss
A prolonged dry spell has affected about 100,000 farmers in El Salvador. As much as 60 percent of the maize crop in affected areas has been lost, and about 156,000 people, mostly in eastern and western El Salvador, are living at crisis-level food insecurity. This means food is inconsistently available, families may have to sell assets to buy food, and acute malnutrition becomes more prevalent among affected households. El Salvador’s neighbors — Honduras, Nicaragua, and Guatemala — also are dealing with the negative effects of drought. Predicted heavy rains throughout the region in early October are expected to provide farmers some relief.
September 28, 2015
U.N. adopts new Sustainable Development Goals
The United Nations General Assembly formally adopted a new set of goals Sept. 25 that will guide its 193 member-states toward eliminating poverty by 2030. The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development consists of 17 goals and 169 targets aimed at ending poverty, fighting inequality, and tackling the effects of climate change over the next 15 years.
“The new agenda is a promise by leaders to all people everywhere. It is an agenda for people, to end poverty in all its forms – an agenda for the planet, our common home,” said U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon during his opening address to the assembly.
World leaders hope to use the goals to build on the work of the Millennium Development Goals, which expire in December.
“The 2030 Agenda compels us to look beyond national boundaries and short-term interests and act in solidarity for the long term,” Ban said. Learn more about the new development goals at https://sustainabledevelopment.un.org/topics.
Child nutrition trends
About 96 million fewer children younger than 5 around the world were stunted — short for their age due to malnutrition — in 2014 as in 1990, according to UNICEF, World Food Program, and the World Bank in a new report on child malnutrition. The findings show a 15.4 percent decrease in stunting prevalence during that period. In all, 159 million children under age 5 were stunted in 2014. In addition to physical effects, stunting also negatively affects a child’s cognitive development.
At the same time, however, there are 10 million more overweight children now (41 million total) than in 1990 (31 million).
A massive earthquake rocked northern Chile, killing at least 10 people, destroying houses, and triggering tsunami waves that inundated towns along the coast. A Chilean news outlet reported as many as 97 aftershocks as strong as magnitude 7.0. People felt it as far away as Peru, to the north, and Buenos Aires, Argentina, to the east, the L.A. Times reports. World Vision staff in Chile’s capital, Santiago, reported limited damage to buildings but said 1 million residents evacuated as a precaution during the tsunami warning. The staff there also reported no children affected in areas where World Vision works. This is the strongest quake to hit the nation of 17 million since the 2010 tremor in south-central Chile that killed about 500 people.
Malaria cases, deaths down sharply since 2000
The world’s efforts to defeat malaria dealt the disease a decisive blow throughout the past 15 years, according to a new report from the U.N. Children’s Fund and the World Health Organization. Between 2000 and 2015, malaria cases fell by 37 percent globally and death rates by 60 percent. That amounts to 1.2 billion fewer cases and 6.2 million fewer deaths in those 15 years than would have happened if the rates measured in 2000 had stayed the same. World health leaders said the Millennium Development Goal for malaria “target has been met convincingly.” Still, the fight continues. Fifteen countries – mainly in sub-Saharan Africa – account for 80 percent of malaria cases and 78 percent of deaths globally. The report highlights the aim, outlined in a new global malaria strategy: “A further 90 percent reduction in global malaria incidence and mortality by 2030.”
September 14, 2015
Child death rates cut in half
Half as many children died last year as did in 1990, per the World Health Organization (WHO) and the U.N. in a new report. While 25 years ago about 12.7 million children younger than 5 died, the number is projected to drop to fewer than 6 million deaths in 2015. WHO and U.N. leaders celebrate the 53 percent reduction, but as they prepare to set new development goals, more needs to be done to improve conditions for babies in their first days of life. The Sustainable Development Goals cover the next 15 years and will replace the Millennium Development Goals, which expire this year.
Japan: 50-year rains affect nearly 1 million residents
The heaviest rains in 50 years forced more than 100,000 people from their homes and another 800,000 to consider evacuation in eastern Japan Sept. 11. On the heels of Tropical Storm Etau, the torrent unleashed widespread flooding and landslides. Many homes were swept off their foundations as swollen rivers swallowed them up. Japan’s military sent 12 helicopter crews to rescue residents stranded in their homes. While 20 inches had already fallen in Joso, the hardest hit area, weather forecasters expected another 8 inches. Japan has bolstered its disaster readiness since the 2011 earthquake and tsunami that killed nearly 20,000 people.
September 7, 2015
Scenes of desperation stir response to European migration crisis
The poignant photo of a Syrian child’s body on a beach in Turkey and scenes of desperate migrants on European trains have accelerated the calls for a unified European response to migrants struggling to reach safe haven on the continent. Rising numbers of economic migrants and refugees from northern Africa and the Syrian conflict are attempting to reach Europe via land and by crossing the Mediterranean. A U.N. spokesperson told CNN last week that 300,000 migrants have tried to cross the Mediterranean to safety compared to 219,000 in all of 2014. In addition to its work with refugees, internally displaced people and host communities in Syria, Iraq, Lebanon, Jordan, and Turkey, World Vision is extending its aid efforts to refugees and migrants in Serbia.
Conflict keeps 13 million children out of school in Middle East, North Africa
The U.N. children’s agency estimates that 13 million children from the Middle East and North Africa are not getting an education because of violence raging in their homelands. The agency’s report, “Education under fire,” says at least 9,000 schools in Syria, Iraq, Yemen, and Libya have been damaged, destroyed, or occupied. In Lebanon, Jordan, and Turkey, more than 700,000 Syrian refugee children are unable to attend overburdened classrooms. World Vision is providing aid to displaced families in Syria, Iraq, Lebanon, Jordan, and Turkey.
Families suffer as fighting in the Central African Republic continues
Clashes between warring insurgent groups in Bambari recently killed at least 10 people and caused thousands to flee for safety to a U.N. base. Throughout the country, at least 2.7 million people are in need of immediate aid, and 20 percent of the population has been displaced since conflict broke out in 2013. Violence in the Central African Republic has been brutal and often includes sexual assault. World Vision helps families with food assistance, treatment of childhood malnutrition, and water and sanitation. The organization works with religious groups to increase interfaith cooperation in peacebuilding.
August 31, 2015
Peru cold wave causes hardships
Peru’s national civil defense authority says more than 425,000 people living at elevations above 11,500 feet have been affected by persistent low temperatures, snowfall, and frost. Below-freezing temperatures in the high Andes since May have killed crops and livestock, jeopardizing family incomes and children’s nutrition. In Ayacucho, Cusco, and Huancavelica, World Vision is providing aid, including blankets and metal roofing sheets for families with the weakest houses.
August 24, 2015
Afghanistan: 2015 sees sharp increase in people displaced by conflict
Conflict in Afghanistan intensified during the first half of 2015, resulting in increased civilian casualties and more people — about 103,000 — forced to flee their homes, the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs says in its mid-year review of the humanitarian response there. That’s a 43 percent increase over the previous year. The Internal Displacement Monitoring Center estimates that, in all, about 948,000 Afghans are displaced by conflict and violence. World Vision has worked in Afghanistan since 2001, providing emergency relief to people affected by drought and conflict. Current efforts focus on health and livelihoods, improving educational opportunities, and protecting vulnerable children.
Humanitarian aid: Capitalizing on faith
Humanitarian leaders are wondering how aid and development groups can better leverage the vast resources (financial, spiritual, and relational) religious communities have to offer toward helping people living in poverty. The idea gained further traction at a late-July meeting in Tajikistan leading up to the 2016 World Humanitarian Summit. The international aid system tends to shy away from addressing the role of religion in humanitarian response. But leaders of the secular U.N. and other groups have warmed to the concept of tapping faith-based organizations, and local faith communities to drive emergency response and improve long-term development. They cite shared values like protecting children’s dignity, basic human rights, and the need for a holistic approach, which means addressing a child’s physical, spiritual, and social needs. Religious leaders are the best advocates for their communities, and also have the moral influence and most extensive networks. A prime example of this working comes from the Sierra Leone Ebola response, where pastors and imams swapped pulpits to urgently communicate disease-prevention methods. World Vision is an active participant in the conversation on the benefits of aid groups working more closely with faith-based organizations and faith communities.
August 17, 2015
Aug. 19: Honoring humanitarian workers
The U.N.-declared World Humanitarian Day on Aug. 19 honors humanitarians at work around the world and those who died in service. The global number of aid workers was estimated at 450,000 for 2013. Given the current state of humanitarian needs, the number of aid workers has likely increased since then. USAID reports that attacks on aid workers and resulting casualties spiked in 2013. In 2014, 120 aid workers were killed in action, one-third fewer than in 2013. It’s good that the trend is declining, yet it likely represents a troubling development — many places have become too insecure for aid workers to be deployed. In 2014, the greatest number of attacks on aid workers occurred in Afghanistan, Syria, South Sudan, Central African Republic, and Pakistan.
Gaza: Infant mortality rate rises for the first time in 50 years
For the first time in 50 years, the infant mortality rate in Gaza has gone up, according to a new study from the U.N. Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA). Based on data gathered in 2013, the number of babies who died before age 1 increased to 22.4 per 1,000 live births, up from the 2008 measurement of 20.2 babies per 1,000 births. The neonatal mortality rate — number of babies who die in their first four weeks — also increased significantly, from 12 in 2008 to 20.3 per 1,000 births in 2013.
“Infant mortality is one of the best indicators for the health of the community,” said Dr. Akihiro Seita, director of UNRWA’s health program. “Progress in combatting infant mortality doesn’t usually reverse. This seems to be the first time we have seen an increase like this. The only other examples I can think of are in some African countries which experienced HIV epidemics.”
August 10, 2015
Floods overwhelm millions in Myanmar, Bangladesh, India, Pakistan
Hundreds of people in India, Myanmar, Pakistan, and Bangladesh have died since early July as monsoon rains brought flash floods and landslides throughout the region. Cyclone Komen made the situation even worse when it made landfall over northwestern Myanmar, coastal Bangladesh, and India’s Bengal state on July 30. About 1 million people are displaced in India and nearly 260,000 people are displaced in Myanmar. “For many families, the floods have caused damage that will take years to recover from,” said Dr. Jayakumar Christian, national director for World Vision in India. Immediate needs are food, shelter, and access to sanitation facilities, safe water, and healthcare services. World Vision is providing assistance to affected residents in India and Myanmar.
Conflict conundrum: Fewer conflicts, more casualties
The number of conflicts around the globe has decreased significantly since 2008 — from 63 to 42. But at the same time, the death toll from conflict increased from 56,000 in 2008 to 180,000 in 2014. The increase in casualties coincides with extreme violence in Syria, Iraq, and Afghanistan, per the International Institute for Strategic Studies, a British think tank, in its Armed Conflict Survey 2015. The study also points out other disturbing trends, including a steep rise in the number of people fleeing conflicts. The number of people displaced by conflict exceeded 50 million in 2013 for the first time since the end of World War II.
Middle East heat wave worsens conditions for displaced Iraqis
The Middle East and parts of Europe are sweltering under extreme heat. Daytime temperatures often exceed 115 degrees Fahrenheit; nights may not drop much below 100 degrees. There’s no relief in the forecast for the next two weeks. Families in makeshift camps and tents in Iraq’s Kurdish region are among those worst hit. For many, electric power is limited to a few hours a day, which also limits the access to running water. World Vision health experts are seeing an increase in diarrhea in children, which could lead to dangerous dehydration. In addition to healthcare, World Vision assists displaced Iraqis with food, water and sanitation, and programs for children.
August 3, 2015
Trafficking in persons is a $150 billion industry
Just in time for the U.N.’s World Day Against Trafficking in Persons, July 30, the U.S. State Department released its 2015 Trafficking in Persons (TIP) Report. In his introductory remarks, Secretary of State John Kerry said trafficking is a $150 billion industry exploiting 20 million people around the world. The much-anticipated annual report rates 188 countries on their efforts to eliminate trafficking, which includes forced labor, sexual exploitation, and recruitment of child soldiers. Both Burundi and South Sudan, which have seen an uptick in violence, were demoted from the Tier 2 Watch List to Tier 3, the lowest rating. Penalties for Tier 3 countries could include restrictions on funding and non-humanitarian assistance.
July 27, 2015
Escalating conflict sends more refugees into hard-pressed Niger
Worsening conflict in Nigeria between government forces and insurgents has caused tens of thousands of people to flee to Diffa in Niger. Aid agencies estimate that 150,000 refugees have relocated there in the past two years. They gather under plastic sheeting in makeshift camps with few possessions. An estimated 2.5 million people in Niger are facing severe food shortages, and 1.3 million children are acutely malnourished. Since January 2015, World Vision has assisted about 1,000 refugee families with household items. In one camp, the organization drilled a borehole well and is equipping a community group to manage and maintain it.
Nearly 20 million people displaced by natural disasters in 2014
A report from the Norwegian Refugee Council says better construction is needed to curb a rising trend in population displacement due to floods, storms, and earthquakes. Since 2008, natural disasters have displaced an average of 26.5 million people annually. While 2014 numbers showed a decline, the long-term trend is rising, especially in Asia, which accounts for 90 percent of displaced people. Much of the 2014 displacement was caused by typhoons in China and the Philippines, and floods in India. The growth of poorly constructed urban slum communities makes ever greater numbers of people vulnerable to extreme weather events.
Rebel ceasefire raises hopes for peace in Colombia
After nearly 50 years and 200,000 deaths, a rebel ceasefire in Colombia could signal the beginning of the end of Latin America’s largest and longest-running insurgency. On the eve of the ceasefire, FARC (Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia — People’s Army) rebels released a prisoner and pledged to continue peace negotiations with the Colombian government. For its part, the government committed to scaling back armed operations and continuing to negotiate toward a bilateral cessation of hostilities to be supervised by the U.N. World Vision’s work in Colombia includes assistance to people displaced by the long-running conflict. There are about 22,000 children in Colombia involved in World Vision sponsorship programming.
July 20, 2015
Concern rising for West African drought
The lean season is starting in West Africa and the Sahel. The Sahel is the strip of land that separates the arid Sahara desert on the north and humid savannas on the south. So far, below-average rainfall and late onset of the rainy season indicate that about 7.5 million people, including 4.5 million in the Sahel, will be in food and nutrition crisis between June and August. Conflict and insecurity in Nigeria, Central African Republic, and other areas, as well as the West Africa Ebola outbreak, have made it hard for families to plant, cultivate, and harvest crops. World Vision works in West Africa and the Sahel to provide emergency aid where needed and to help families and communities develop resilience to drought.
Financing sustainable development goals
Rich and poor nations met last week to agree how to finance ambitious development goals designed, in part, to end extreme poverty and hunger by 2030. The price tag is estimated to be $3 trillion annually. The solution? Wealthy nations pledged to meet their prior commitment to 0.7 percent of gross national income for foreign aid. Low-income countries committed to cleaning up their domestic tax systems and using the new revenue to support their national development agenda.
July 6, 2015
Burundi: Election unrest spurs exodus
Turnout was low for June 29 parliamentary elections, with voting stations the target of protests and violence. Nearly 130,000 people have left the country — about 1,000 depart daily — for Tanzania, Rwanda, or the Democratic Republic of Congo. World Vision supporters from the U.S. sponsor about 4,600 children in Burundi. The organization’s development programs in Burundi include providing clean water, healthcare, economic empowerment, literacy, and education. Watch a video by World Vision videographer Tom Costanza from the Burundi-Rwanda border.
June 29, 2015
El Salvador: Homicides increase at alarming rate
May was a record-breaking month for homicide in El Salvador where 635 killings were recorded, about 20 a day. June will likely close on par. According to police, gangs have strengthened since the 2013 breakdown of a truce between government, and gang leaders and are now showing their muscle. This violence is also recognized as a major factor behind the influx of Central American migrants entering the U.S. illegally. In fiscal year 2014, nearly 52,000 unaccompanied children from El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras were apprehended at the U.S.-Mexico border, more than double the total from the previous year, according to U.S. Customs and Border Protection data.
June 22, 2015
World: 2014 saw greatest single-year increase in people forced to flee
On average, 42,500 people became refugees, displaced within their own country, or asylum seekers every day in 2014, the U.N. Refugee Agency (UNHCR) says in a report released June 18. The Global Trends report says 2014 saw the sharpest increase ever in the number of people forced to flee their homes, driven primarily by the Syrian civil war. Nearly 60 million people worldwide had been forcibly displaced at the end of 2014; half of them children.
“We are witnessing a paradigm change, an unchecked slide into an era in which the scale of global forced displacement, as well as the response required, is now clearly dwarfing anything seen before,” said U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees António Guterres. “With huge shortages of funding and wide gaps in the global regime for protecting victims of war, people in need of compassion, aid, and refuge are being abandoned.”
World Vision is working to help people displaced in areas affected by the Syria and Iraq crises, war in South Sudan, and violence in the Central African Republic, among other hotspots.
Dominican Republic: Children in jeopardy as Haitians face possible deportation
Hundreds of thousands of Haitians living in the Dominican Republic face deportation, as a government-imposed deadline to register their presence there passed June 17.
World Vision staff in both the Dominican Republic and Haiti are concerned this action may inadvertently cause a humanitarian crisis by unnecessarily breaking up families.
Tension grew Wednesday as migrant workers waited in lines snaking through the streets of Santo Domingo, the capital. They hoped for a chance to start the process of obtaining legal status before the midnight deadline. About 200,000 people of Haitian descent are in legal limbo — not recognized as a citizen by Haiti or the Dominican Republic.
June 15, 2015
World Refugee Day, June 20
The burden of hosting refugee populations could also be an economic boon, according to a recent study by the United Nations Development Program and the U.N.’s refugee agency, UNHCR. The study looked at the impact of humanitarian aid on Lebanon since the Syrian refugee crisis began in 2011. It concludes that for every dollar in aid spent in the country, another 50 cents is generated in multiplier effects, such as an increase in local aid jobs and spending by expatriate staff. In contrast, a 2013 World Bank study put the economic effect of the Syrian war as a net negative for Lebanon and said that up to 170,000 Lebanese were being driven into poverty as a result. Whatever local benefits and costs there may be to hosting displaced people, there’s no doubt that the global costs of displacement are rising. UNHCR has appealed for a 2015 budget of US$16.4 billion to meet the needs of 57.5 million people worldwide; 70 percent of the budget to be allocated to crises in the Central African Republic,Iraq,South Sudan, and Syria(including the countries hosting Syrian refugees). World Vision is active in each of these humanitarian crises.
Niger burdened by refugees, lack of food
The numbers of people in Niger who lack sufficient food could increase to 4.7 million during the May to September lean season, from the current 3.4 million, according to the U.N. Children’s Fund. Those under the age of 5 are most likely to be affected by food insecurity. Violence in Nigeria has led to nearly 100,000 refugees crossing into the Diffa region of Niger, putting a greater strain on the humanitarian response there. Since January 2015, World Vision has provided aid to refugees in Diffa, first through a partner agency, and since May 1 directly; assistance includes access to clean water and sanitation as well as programming for children.
June 8, 2015
June 12, World Day Against Child Labor
It’s estimated that 120 million children ages 5 to 14 are working instead of attending school. Lack of education limits their future incomes and the economic well-being of the communities where they live. On June 12, the International Labor Organization is promoting the availability of free, compulsory, and high-quality education as a way to combat child labor. World Vision’s work includes education in emergencies, upgrading and equipping schools, providing students with supplies, and training teachers.
June 1, 2015
Despite progress, hunger persists, especially in conflict zones
The number of people in the world who are undernourished has dropped to 795 million or one in nine, per the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) report “The State of Food Insecurity in the World 2015.” Economic growth and increased agriculture production have helped, per the report. However, hunger rates are three times higher in countries experiencing long-term crises due to conflict or natural disasters. Of 24 African countries facing severe food shortages, most have suffered shortages for years because of internal conflicts. To meet the target of eliminating world hunger by 2030, the report recommends social protection schemes for the most impoverished in developing countries, including cash transfers to poor farmers and free school meals.
US: Texas, Oklahoma endure week of deadly floods, tornadoes
Severe weather throughout the Midwest last week killed at least 30 people in Texas and six Oklahoma, news reports said. A series of massive rainstorms over Houston caused flash floods that submerged parts of the metro area, stranded vehicles, and triggered emergency evacuations. World Vision staff and volunteers rushed relief supplies from its north Texas warehouse to local churches and organizations for distribution in affected areas. The warehouse holds pre-positioned aid, including food kits, flood cleanup kits, and personal hygiene supplies.
India: Prolonged heat wave takes toll as residents pray for rain
One of India’s longest heat waves in years has claimed 2,000 lives, including more than 1,750 in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana states. Temperatures climbed to as high as 118 F in the worst affected areas of Telangana, which includes the major city of Hyderabad. Weather authorities expect rain in coastal areas sometime this week, but people living inland may not get relief from the heat until mid-June, World Vision staff in India report. World Vision works throughout Andhra Pradesh and Telangana but has yet to report any deaths among children benefiting from sponsorship. U.S. sponsors support more than 10,000 children in the affected areas.
May 25, 2015
Malawi: Cholera threatens families displaced by floods
There’s no home to go to for the 107,000 people still displaced by the floods that struck southern Malawi in January 2015. It’s not just a matter of their homes being destroyed. Under heavy rains, rivers changed course, leaving lands under water or inaccessible. Resettlement areas are being identified, but in the meantime, life is hard in displacement camps. Access to clean water is compromised by overcrowding and insufficient numbers of toilets. World Vision is providing toilets and water purification tablets, as well as promoting good hygiene practices such as hand washing and boiling water to drink. World Vision has also assisted families with food, household goods, and programs for children.
May 11, 2015
World: Record 38 million people internally displaced
A report issued last week notes a new world record high at the end of 2014: 38 million people internally displaced by conflict and violence — a number equal to the populations of New York, London, and Beijing combined. The report by the Norwegian Refugee Council says Iraq, South Sudan, Syria, Democratic Republic of Congo, and Nigeria had the most newly displaced people. Alarmingly, more than 90 percent of nations monitored had people displaced for a decade or more, signaling a trend of long-term life disruption. And some people face multiple displacements — refugees from Syria who had fled to Iraq were displaced again in Iraqi fighting, as did Palestinian refugees who had fled to Syria and then to Iraq, being uprooted once more.
Central African Republic: Child soldiers to be freed
The eight main militias fighting in the Central African Republic agreed May 5 to free all child soldiers and children used as sex slaves and to end further recruitment of children to their ranks, Reuters reported. The pact will involve between 6,000 and 10,000 children. The deal is the result of ongoing reconciliation efforts among governments and aid groups with the goal of ending the bloody conflict that has killed thousands of people and displaced more than a million people. World Vision has helped more than 150,000 people affected by the conflict with access to clean water, food supplies, and Child-Friendly Spaces. It has also worked with Christian and Muslim leaders to promote peaceful dialogue among faith communities.
U.S.: Oklahoma, Kansas, Texas, Nebraska reel after string of tornadoes
Residents throughout the Midwest are picking up the pieces after dozens of tornadoes ripped through their homes May 6. At least 12 were injured in Oklahoma City. Two twisters In Oklahoma mangled houses and cars as they tore through Norman and Moore — areas hit hard by the powerful 2013 tornado that killed 24 people. World Vision and its local partner, Church of the Harvest in Moore, are already providing supplies to families rebuilding from the earlier storms. The organization is gearing up to send more building materials to stock the church’s disaster response warehouse to assist families affected by the latest storms.
April 27, 2015
Humanitarian need has doubled in 10 years
In April 20 remarks to representatives of U.N. member states, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said urbanization, population growth, conflict, and increasing numbers of natural disasters are among the factors that have doubled the number of people in need of humanitarian assistance within 10 years. Among those in need are 51 million people displaced by conflict, the most at any time since World War II. People displaced within their own countries by conflict now spend 17 years on average as internally displaced people (IDPs).
World Malaria Day, April 25: Malaria fight facing new challenges
The rise of drug-resistant malaria strains and an increase in the numbers and geographic spread of insecticide-resistant mosquitoes could challenge the world’s progress in defeating malaria, said Dr. Fatoumata Nafo-Traoré, head of the Roll Back Malaria Partnership. About half of the world’s population — more than 3.2 billion people — is at risk of contracting malaria. Each year there are nearly 200 million cases, and more than half a million malaria sufferers die, most of them children too young to respond to treatment. Experts say eradicating malaria depends on the global ability to control mosquitoes, provide effective medicines, and eventually a vaccine.
April 20, 2015
Sahel: Food crisis persists
Aid agencies remain deeply concerned for the well-being of more than 20 million people living in the Sahel region, a narrow band of African countries including Mauritania, Mali, Niger, and Chad, according to the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.
Families continue to suffer chronic levels of malnutrition and food insecurity due to recurrent conflict, erratic weather patterns, and other factors like epidemics. As these issues persist, World Vision is working with affected communities to help families become more resilient. Efforts such as rehabilitating water sources; training in improved farming, crop storage, and food preparation techniques; and malnutrition screening help improve health and livelihoods. As a result, families are better equipped to endure drought and other shocks.
Afghanistan: Attacks reflect perilous conditions for aid workers
Security incidents are increasing in April across war-torn Afghanistan. While NATO’s combat mission officially ended in 2014, about 12,000 troops remain in Afghanistan to train local forces. On April 10, troops were targeted in the eastern part of the country. That same day, five aid workers were found dead after being abducted in the south-central province of Uruzgan in March.
These incidents highlight the increasingly difficult conditions for humanitarian groups working there. In 2014, 40 aid workers were killed and 21 wounded in 47 incidents. World Vision works in more than 370 Afghan communities, focused on improving maternal and child health, providing access to clean drinking water, and helping families improve their livelihoods.
Malawi: President raises marriage age
President Peter Mutharika recently approved a law that raises the marriage age from 16 to 18, the BBC reported April 15. Malawi has one of the world’s highest rates of child marriage, with 12 percent married by age 15 and 50 percent married by age 18. Many parents who can’t afford to pay their daughters’ school fees see child marriage as an opportunity to relieve financial burdens. More than 133,000 children benefit from World Vision’s work in 26 districts throughout Malawi.
April 13, 2015
Kenya: Dealing with the aftermath of the shocking student massacre
World Vision and the Kenya Red Cross are working together to provide psychosocial aid to survivors of the April 2 massacre at a university in northeast Kenya. Authorities say 148 people, mostly students, were killed in the attack at Garissa University College in Garissa, Kenya. Another 100 were injured. Trained counselors will provide emotional support, help survivors to cope with their experiences, and assist them with locating family members. World Vision will also train teachers, community leaders, and faith leaders in humanitarian practices so that churches, mosques, and schools are better prepared to cope with disasters. Read more.
Shutdown of money transfers could hinder aid delivery in Somalia
Since the massacre of Kenyan university students, Kenya’s central bank has shut down 13 money remittance providers in an effort to stem the flow of funds to armed militias in the region. Somalia has no central bank, and the nation depends on remittances from Somali expatriates, who send home about $1.3 billion annually, much of it routed through Kenya. In addition, a consortium of aid agencies that work in Somalia says some could lose their only means of transferring money to sustain their operations. Francois Batalingya, World Vision country director for Somalia, says the closing of remittance providers could have a “massive impact” on aid delivery.
April 6, 2015
Yemen: Children suffer in chaos of war
Children are paying a high price for the upsurge of bombing and street fighting in Yemen. According to the U.N. children’s agency, 62 children have been killed and 30 were maimed since March 26, more than in all of 2014. It’s estimated that 1 million children are unable to attend school, making them more vulnerable to recruitment by armed groups. Schools and health facilities have been targeted for attacks and occupied by forces.
Burundi: Floods set back the progress of development
Heavy rains, flooding, and landslides caused extensive damage and displacement in southwest Burundi during the past week. At least 10 people died and 3,000 displaced. Houses, churches, schools, and health facilities have been damaged. This latest episode is one of many recurring natural hazards that have displaced communities, destroyed homes, disrupted livelihoods, and diminished food supplies. World Vision staff joined a multi-agency disaster assessment team to plan for needed aid. The organization has provided relief and development projects in Burundi since 1963.
March 23, 2015
Farmers among those hit hardest by disaster losses
Farmers in developing countries bear a high proportion of losses from natural disasters, a new U.N. report says. The Food and Agriculture Organization says the agriculture sector experiences nearly one-quarter of the economic loss but receives less than 5 percent of aid dollars. From 2003 to 2013, natural disasters and hazards in 46 developing nations affected 1.9 billion people and cost more than $494 billion, the study says. In 2014, World Vision provided food aid worth almost $264 million to 8 million people in 35 countries. World Vision helps farmers build long-term resilience to drought and adverse weather.
Global group announces plan for reducing disaster risks
Delegates from 187 nations meeting March 14-17 in Sendai, Japan, announced global targets to reduce deaths and losses from disasters over the next 15 years. Among their priorities are greater emphasis on community-level disaster preparedness and applying the “build back better” principle to post-disaster reconstruction. News from the conference was overshadowed by Cyclone Pam’s destructive tear through Vanuatu, a low-lying group of South Pacific islands that is one of the world’s most disaster-prone countries. World Vision helped villagers prepare for the cyclone and is providing aid.
Cameroon: More people displaced
Fleeing spill-over fighting from Nigeria, nearly 60,000 people have been displaced in northern Cameroon since Feb. 10, doubling the total to about 117,000. The region also hosts 295,000 refugees who fled increasing violence in Nigeria, to the west, and fighting in the Central African Republic, to the east. The U.N. humanitarian agency (OCHA) says 10 percent of Cameroon’s population — 2.1 million people — needs humanitarian assistance.
March 16, 2015
Colombia landmines: Rebels agree to help army clear minefields
As peace negotiations continue between the Colombian government and FARC rebels, the two groups have agreed to work together to remove landmines strewn throughout the country during decades of fighting. Colombia has one of the highest concentrations of mines in the world; mines have injured or killed nearly 11,000 people here since 1990. The ongoing conflict has displaced more than 5.7 million people within the country. World Vision provides internally displaced people with food, household items, and personal supplies and works with the government to empower youth as peace builders.
Costa Rica: Turrialba volcano spews ash, closes airport
Clouds of ash from the newly active Turrialba volcano blanketed much of Costa Rica’s Central Valley March 12, forcing the country’s main airport to close and nearby village residents to evacuate. The series of eruptions began March 8, sending plumes of ash as high as 3,200 feet. Turrialba and nearby Irazu volcanoes are popular tourist destinations. World Vision began work in Costa Rica in the 1980s.
March 9, 2015
Afghanistan: Deadly avalanches cut off residents of remote valley
Severe winter weather in late February triggered a series of avalanches that killed at least 196 residents of the Panjshir Valley in northern Afghanistan. First responders are clearing roads as the Afghan military airlifts emergency supplies to parts of the valley that have been cut off by snowdrifts. World Vision began relief efforts in the country in 2001 and has since worked to improve maternal and child health, increase children’s access to educational opportunities, and help communities regain economic stability through cash-for-work programs.
Philippines: Fighting displaces more families in the south
Almost 10,000 families were displaced after fighting rekindled Feb. 25 between two warring rebel groups in the south of Mindanao Island. Ongoing insecurity there has displaced at least 34,000 people. Affected families need shelter, access to clean water and sanitation facilities, and healthcare. In addition to reaching more than 1 million people in the aftermath of Super Typhoon Haiyan, World Vision operates programs in the Philippines that benefit about 75,000 children registered in sponsorship programs.
March 2, 2015
Where sanitation lags, cholera cases rise
Kenya, Nigeria, and Mozambique are seeing alarming increases in cases of cholera. In Kenya, the number of cases rose from 186 to 644 in a week. In Nigeria, 564 cases have been reported since January. Thirty-seven people have died in Mozambique’s cholera outbreak, which has sickened nearly 3,500 people since January floods. Cholera crops up annually during the rainy season where lack of adequate sanitation leads to contaminated drinking water.
Central America: Food stocks low for poor households
Long-term drought in Central America is contributing to food shortages for more than 2 million people. Thousands of their cattle have died and up to 75 percent of maize and bean crops were lost. Worst-affected are subsistence farmers, day laborers, and the very poor in Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador. Humanitarian aid may be needed at least until the fall grain harvests. World Vision’s programs in Central America help families to increase their incomes and improve farm practices.
February 23, 2015
Children threatened by peacetime bombs
The U.N. Mine Action Service last week released its 2015 portfolio of project requests for finding and destroying dangerous remnants of warfare. More than 60 countries are confirmed to be affected by mines or cluster munitions. Every day, an average of ten people are killed or injured by exploding ordnance. Some of it is decades old, such as bombs dropped on Cambodia and Laos during the Viet Nam War. Children are often intrigued by the unfamiliar objects and pick them up to play with them. Mine contamination also limits economic growth by preventing use of land for building or agriculture.
Myanmar: Civilians caught in the crossfire
Recent clashes between ethnic rebels and the military caused close to 90,000 civilians to flee their homes in northeastern Myanmar. Whole villages were emptied of residents, many of whom left on foot. At least 30,000 people, mostly ethnic Chinese Kotang, crossed the border into China’s Yunnan province. Violent outbreaks hamper efforts to provide aid. Peace and reconciliation between the national government and ethnic groups will be important as Myanmar approaches national elections in November. World Vision works in more than 1,000 villages in Myanmar and provides aid to the Kachin ethnic group.
After decades in Pakistan, Afghan refugees under pressure to leave
Since January, more than 32,000 undocumented Afghans returned from Pakistan, and another 2,000 were deported. They report being harassed and threatened by authorities and their communities, and unfairly lumped in with the killers of 150 students and teachers at a Peshawar school in December. Pakistan hosts about 1.6 million registered Afghan refugees, many of whom arrived after the Soviets invaded Afghanistan in 1979. Now they suffer extreme poverty whichever way they turn. World Vision provides humanitarian and development assistance in both Pakistan and Afghanistan.
Trapped in the Central African Republic
More than 36,000 people, mostly Muslims, are trapped in seven enclaves across the Central African Republic. They are threatened by attack from anti-balaka militias. At the request of the interim national government, the U.N. forces who protect them also prevent them from leaving the country. World Vision and partner organizations provide food, nutrition screening, child protection, and medical care to 600 people, including 257 children, at the Yaloke enclave. They are members of the Peuhl, a nomadic group of Fulani people.
February 16, 2015
Worldwide: Next steps after the Millennium Development Goals
The MDGs expire this year. This week in New York, there’s a session of inter-governmental negotiations on the next set of global goals for poverty reduction. World Vision is among the relief and development organizations calling for world leaders to prioritize the needs of the world’s most vulnerable children as the key to eliminating extreme poverty by 2030. “Too many children living in conflict, post-conflict, and fragile places haven’t benefited from the global progress made in the past 15 years. We need to see a stronger emphasis on those children,” says World Vision spokesman James Odong.
Boko Haram ventures first attack in Niger
Nigeria-based extremist group Boko Haram carried out new attacks in neighboring Niger Feb. 6-9, killing six and injuring 25, including refugees who had settled in south-eastern Niger. More than 113,000 Nigerians have fled ongoing insecurity seeking safety in Niger, Cameroon, and Chad. Many families in Niger are struggling with ongoing food insecurity, too. More than 5 million people don’t have enough to eat and about 356,000 children younger than 5 are severely malnourished. World Vision helps families in Niger access clean water and improve crop production through irrigation projects, and supports thousands of students with learning materials like books and desks.
February 9, 2015
Water and sanitation pay off big in health benefits
Larger than expected health benefits of clean water make a strong case for improving access for 750 million people in poor nations, says a new report from the World Bank. “Provision of basic water and sanitation facilities … would be a good investment in economic terms,” says World Bank economist Guy Hutton. Based on a study of health benefits and time saved, such as from carrying water, investments in universal access to clean water could prevent 170,000 deaths a year and basic sanitation for all could prevent 80,000 deaths. In 2010, the United Nations declared improved sanitation and water to be basic human rights.
Ukraine: Civilians trapped without aid in conflict areas
The concern is growing for civilians who are not able to flee as fighting ramps up in eastern Ukraine. Many are surviving in underground shelters with no heat or sanitation and lacking the most basic necessities. Close to a million people are displaced in Ukraine and 640,000 have fled the country. Humanitarian access is limited because of broken infrastructure and frequent shelling.
February 2, 2015
1 in 10 of world’s children live in areas affected by conflict
A new report from UNICEF says 230 million children — 1 in 10 — live in areas torn by conflict. The agency is appealing for $3.1 million to aid 62 million children, primarily with nutrition support, vaccinations, psychological care, and education. Among the countries and conflicts where children have the greatest needs are the Central African Republic, South Sudan, Iraq, and the Syrian refugee crisis. In all of these World Vision provides aid programs for children and families.
January 26, 2015
Universal immunization: A chance at a global life saver
Since 2000, a global effort has seen half a billion children in developing countries gain access to immunization. Yet each year, 1.5 million children under age 5 die from diseases that could have been prevented if they’d been vaccinated. Gavi — the multi-national, government- and foundation-funded vaccine alliance — meets in Berlin Jan. 26-27 to raise funds for a $7.5 billion dollar effort to immunize every child in the lowest income countries between 2016 and 2020.
Yemen: Following rebel takeover, aid groups concerned for children’s welfare
Yemen’s president resigned last week to a rebel group, one of several factions that had previously asserted regional control opposing the central government. Long-term insecurity has meant widespread displacement and a severe humanitarian crisis affecting 15.9 million of the 24.4 million population. A million Yemeni children are malnourished, many severely so, and 2.5 million children are out of school. All the country’s armed groups are reported to recruit child soldiers.
January 19, 2015
Niger – Nigerian refugees flood border region
Hundreds of refugees and returnees flee daily to eastern Niger to escape unrest in Nigeria. The U.N. has registered more than 96,000 people who need aid, including more than 45,000 children. Food, shelter, medicines, and support to education are needed. Host communities are already short of food and animal fodder, and the number of malnourished children is rising. World Vision is preparing to respond through a local partner organization.
May 1, 2014
Honduras – Spin class
Known for their fast-paced, highly skilled basketball performances, the Harlem Globetrotters empower children through basketball clinics, anti-bullying education, fitness promotion, and hospital outreach. Now a new child-focused partnership between the Globetrotters and World Vision stretches across the globe.
On a recent trip to Honduras with World Vision, the Globetrotters brought their basketball wizardry to children in Yamaranguila. Three players—from left, Anthony “Buckets” Blakes, Kevin “Special K” Daley, and Fatima “TNT” Maddox—pulled Clementino Manueles out of the crowd to join them. Earlier, the grinning 8-year-old sponsored child was among World Vision-trained youth leaders who led devotions for the Globetrotters.
The Globetrotters’ 300 exhibition games in 2014 feature an on-court interactive game about child sponsorship and provide opportunities for fans to sponsor a child in need.
Contributors: Chris Huber and Kathryn Reid, World Vision staff