As fighting resumes, more Iraqis fleeing Mosul
The flow of residents fleeing Mosul increased in recent days to more than 2,000 people per day, Reuters reported Jan. 4. While the western half of Iraq’s second-largest city remains under ISIL control, Iraqi forces have retaken most of the city’s eastern portion. Out of 1.5 million people still living in Mosul before the offensive began in mid-October, more than 125,000 have fled to camps or host communities outside the city. More than 3 million people currently are displaced within the country since extremist violence flared up in 2014, and 10 million need humanitarian aid. World Vision has helped more than 1 million people in northern Iraq affected by the ongoing violence.
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.
Areas of Somalia, South Sudan on brink of famine
Somalia and South Sudan are in the midst of worsening droughts and food crises. The outlook for 2017 is not promising either. In Somalia, about 5 million people — 40 percent of its population — are struggling to find enough to eat. Millions more are food-insecure throughout South Sudan. Some communities in each country are on the brink of famine. Both countries can blame armed conflict and a severe drought that killed crops, hindered commercial trade activities, and increased food prices in 2016. World Vision has been responding in South Sudan since the current crisis began in December 2013 and has worked in Somalia since 1993.