From the Field

2015 humanitarian world news headlines

2015 Nepal earthquake in Kathmandu, the capital of Nepal. Search and rescue workers look for victims amid the rubble of collapsed buildings. The quake also caused landslides and avalanches in the Himalaya Mountains.

The humanitarian world news briefs bring you a regularly updated selection of events and trends impacting people and the humanitarian community worldwide. This is an archive of what happened in 2015; click here for our most recent news briefs. Our topic-based FAQs are also a great way to stay up-to-date on a specific topic or issue.

About 150 major natural disasters affected millions of people worldwide in 2015. Most notable:

December 31, 2015

Central African Republic holds peaceful elections

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% of the population — from their homes. World Vision has reached 152,000 people in the Central African Republic 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 churches.

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 civil war, and 20% 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 humanitarian 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% 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, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Malawi, and Lesotho, which already have high levels of malnutrition.

Climate of change produces an 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, according to 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. 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 we 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: Find new money,  protect lives and livelihoods, and build long-term resilience.

Afghanistan: Bomb-laden fields hamper Kunduz harvest

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 the 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. Only 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% 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% 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, according to UNICEF. 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, according to the U.N. Refugee Agency. 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 also been responding to the growing crisis in Europe, providing food, water, hygiene items, and other items and services throughout the region.

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, according to the U.N.’s Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. 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

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.

Tuberculosis 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 that peaked as the worst hurricane on record, made landfall on Mexico’s Pacific Coast Oct. 23. While the winds quickly dissipated, the storm brought record-setting rainfalls, flooding rivers and streams, and causing landslides. Authorities say no loss of life was recorded, likely because tens of thousands in coastal areas evacuated.

World Vision is concentrating its recovery efforts in Jalisco state. Mascota community in Jalisco accounts for 45% of the damage caused by Hurricane Patricia. In Mascota, 1,000 houses were damaged as well as more than 3,700 acres of agricultural land. The day after Hurricane Patricia made landfall, World Vision staff in Mexico joined local responders to assess the extent of need in municipalities with the greatest amount of damage.

  • In Mascota, near the Cuenca del Rio river basin in Jalisco state, World Vision will supply household water filters and mattresses to 300 families.
  • In Autlán, a Jalisco municipality near the coast, World Vision will provide hygiene kits and baby kits to meet the needs of about 700 families. In Huerta, a coastal municipality where a number of families remain in shelters, World Vision will set up two Child-Friendly Spaces to serve approximately 80 children.

“Our first concern is for the safety of children,” says Silvia Novoa, World Vision’s national director for Mexico. “We will be making a special effort to ensure they get what they need, including emotional support in special Child-Friendly Spaces.”

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 the 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?

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

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 peacebuilding.

El Salvador: drought brings widespread crop loss

A prolonged dry spell has affected about 100,000 farmers in El Salvador. As much as 60% 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.

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 Programme, and the World Bank in a new report on child malnutrition. The findings show a 15.4% 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).

September 21, 2015

Chile: 8.4 magnitude earthquake rocks coastal cities

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 a magnitude of 7.0. People felt it as far away as Peru, to the north, and Buenos Aires, Argentina, to the east. 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 over 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% globally and death rates by 60%. 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% of malaria cases and 78% of deaths globally. The report highlights the aim, outlined in a new global malaria strategy: “A further 90% 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% 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% 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. We work 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 a 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 said in its mid-year review of the humanitarian response there. That’s a 43% increase over the previous year. The Internal Displacement Monitoring Center estimates that, in total, 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 virus 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 others 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. 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 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 two watch list to tier three, the lowest rating. Penalties for tier three 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, we 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% 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 Africa 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, the 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 on 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% 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 the Congo. World Vision supporters from the U.S. sponsor about 4,600 children in Burundi. Our development programs in Burundi include providing clean water, healthcare, economic empowerment, literacy, and education.

June 29, 2015

El Salvador: Homicides increase at an 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 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

2014 saw the 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) said 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, South Sudan conflict, 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

Hosting refugees may prove beneficial for economies

The burden of hosting refugee populations could also be helpful economically, 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% 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. 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.

Texas, Oklahoma endure a week of deadly floods, tornadoes

Severe weather throughout the Midwest last week killed at least 30 people in Texas and six in Oklahoma, according to news reports. 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 a 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 degrees Fahrenheit 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 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 only a matter of their homes being destroyed. Under heavy rains, rivers changed course, leaving lands underwater 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

Record 38 million people internally displaced worldwide

A new report issued 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, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and Nigeria had the most newly displaced people. Alarmingly, more than 90% 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. We have also worked with Christian and Muslim leaders to promote peaceful dialogue among faith communities.

Oklahoma, Kansas, Texas, Nebraska reel after a 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 one of its local partners, Church of the Harvest in Moore, are already providing supplies to families rebuilding from the earlier storms. We are 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% married by age 15 and 50% 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.

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

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 were 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. We have 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, according to a new U.N. report. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization, the agriculture sector experiences nearly one-quarter of the economic loss but receives less than 5% 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. 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. According to the U.N. humanitarian agency, OCHA, 10% of Cameroon’s population — 2.1 million people — needs humanitarian assistance.

March 16, 2015

Colombia land mines: 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 land mines 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 peacebuilders.

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 a 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 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% 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 Vietnam 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 the 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 attacks 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

Next steps after the Millennium Development Goals

The Millennium Development Goals 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,” said 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, according to a new report from the World Bank. “Provision of basic water and sanitation facilities … would be a good investment in economic terms,” said 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 the 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 countries affected by 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.

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.


Chris Huber and Kathryn Reid of World Vision’s staff in the U.S. contributed to this article.

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