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World Vision Worried About Effects Of Heat Wave On Refugees In Iraq

As temperatures in Iraq continue to rise, World Vision is urging donors to give more money to support families that have been displaced. Temperatures at the start of the month began to exceed 50 degrees and the aid agency is extremely concerned for the families on the ground. Cecil Laguardia of World Vision says the heat wave has made already difficult living conditions that much harder for children. There are almost a million displaced children in Iraq.

Living in steel boxes

Ms. Laguardia adds that many of the shelters or caravans are little more than steel boxes. Whilst there are the fortunate few families that own a cooler, there is still the issue of power cuts which occur throughout the day. Those families who don’t have a cooler have to deal with shelters that get unbearably hot. Going outdoors is simply not an option for these families where temperatures are searing.

7.1 million people affected

The heat wave began in late July and reports keep pouring in about families and their children suffering from heat stroke, dehydration and diarrhoea. The best way to deal with the effects of severe weather is funding Ms. Laguardia explained. In June Iraq’s Humanitarian Response Plan was released by the Kurdish Region of Iraq government and the United Nations. The report warns that as many as 7.1 million people will require water, sanitation and hygiene assistance. If these issues remain unaddressed many in the aid community worry there will be an outbreak of disease which will likely make what is a miserable situation much worse.

“There simply aren’t enough water supplies for all families. The electricity in this camp goes off at least two to three times a day. It’s often the case where there is no power for at least three hours during the day and five hours at night, making it even more difficult for my children to stay hydrated.” 45-year old Anwar who lives in a camp in Erbil with his wife and four children said.

World Vision doing its bit

World Vision is doing its bit and is trying to rehabilitate a water facility which would mean better water supplies for as many as 40,000 people living in the Khanke camp as well as other host communities. Construction for the project is being done in collaboration with the Ministry of Water of Duhok. It is expected that the project will be complete by November 2015.

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World Vision Urges UK Public Not To Forget Child Refugees

World Vision UK is urging the public to lend their support for the child refugee crisis. The latest figures suggest that there are over 29 million children all over the world that have been forced to flee their homes. Data from the UNHCR suggest that conflicts taking place in South Sudan, the Central African Republic and Syria have been responsible for the rise. The UN agency reckons that there are now a record breaking 59.5 million people globally that have been displaced, half of those that have been displaced are children.

“Imagine half of the United Kingdom being forced to flee their homes – except they are all children. This is a sobering thought and a wake-up call for world leaders and the international community to step up their efforts to solve political crises and to offer more support to refugee children. Earlier this year, I met refugees in camps near the Syrian border and heard harrowing stories from children who endured experiences that no child ever should. While many have fled to safety, and we can offer some kind of normality, there are millions more who haven’t made it – and who urgently need assistance. We know that children are least to blame in any conflict – yet, tragically, they’re the ones who suffer the most,” Tim Pilkington, World Vision UK Chief Executive, said.

Tolerance is fading

World Vision UK is calling for increased support from the public after reports worryingly revealed that there is less tolerance for Syria and other countries in the Middle East. According to the most recent survey conducted by Islamic Relief, 47 per cent of those that were polled did not belief the UK should offer refuge to people fleeing the fighting in the Middle East.

Refugees have no other options

Johan Eldebo of World Vision says that the world is becoming increasingly more hostile towards refugees. The simple fact of the matter is no one decides they want to be a refugee. They become refugees when there are no other options available and have to flee for their lives. Unfortunately the ongoing crisis has lasted so long the public has become immune to them. Whilst that may be the case, there is no family that feels at home living in refugee camp tents.

Child refugees are on their own

A large proportion of child refugees travel alone, travelling in terrain that is harsh and end up living in giant refugee camps where they have to fight over limited resources with no one to comfort them when they are scared. In advance of World Refugee Day, World Vision is calling on the global community to ensure that child refuges are prioritised. The agency believes such children should have the right to be cared for particularly when they are separated from their families.

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World Vision Urges G7 Leaders To Help World’s Most Vulnerable Children

World Vision, the international development agency has urged UK Prime Minister David Cameron to ensure that the most vulnerable children in the world are not forgotten. World Vision issued the reminder to the British PM at the G7 summit held in Bavaria recently.

New development goals being developed

World Vision’s Geeta Bandi-Phillips who attended the summit as the agency’s External Relations Manager says this year is critical for children because the Millennium Development Goals are all set to expire with new goals for the post 2015 era still being developed. She adds that G7 meetings are an important opportunity for world leaders to show their support for an ambitious post 2015 framework.

“Children need to be in the forefront of these discussions; especially the children who missed out on the success of the MDGs are at risk of being forgotten again. They are the ones who bear the brunt of atrocities and consequences from civil conflicts and humanitarian crises,” adds Bandi-Phillips.

Assistance needs to be scaled up

The crisis in Syria has affected over 6.6 million children. Not only have those that have been affected lost their family, friends and homes, but many have had to witness or experience unspeakable violence. Things will continue to get worse unless world leaders agree to scale up assistance and deal with the roots of the problems.

G7 leaders need to be ambitious

Each year approximately 6.3 million children under the age of five die around the world, with the vast majority of those deaths occurring in the most fragile conflict prone places. Ms. Bandi-Philips says it is these children who suffer the most and should be seen as the priority. She adds that G7 leaders have an opportunity to enact goals designed to ensure no child dies from preventable causes and end extreme poverty and hunger by 2030.

“These leaders will sign up to new goals in September. They have already contributed to the success of halving the number of people living in extreme poverty, and the number of children dying from preventable deaths. But they need to use their power to ensure that come September, the children who live and die invisible to the systems that could help them, are not ignored once again.” Ms. Bandi-Phillips said.


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World Vision Launches Emergency Appeal For Victims Of Nepal Earthquake

World Vision

Teams from World Vision have been working on the huge task of coordinating aid efforts to provide help to those who have been worst affected by the 7.8 magnitude earthquake that struck Nepal. The organisation has sent a team to examine the extent of the damage which took them several hours by vehicle and then a half day trek despite the distance of less than 50 miles.

Lots of rubble

In the immediate aftermath of the quake, World Vision staffers described roads in Kathmandu as being blocked by rubble and debris as well as older toppled buildings. The more modern buildings in the city remained standing, however few were inhabited because people were afraid that the structures were safe. Despite the fact that Nepal sits in a region that is prone to earthquakes, many of the country’s villages and towns are simply not prepared to deal with an earthquake of this size, according to World Vision Nepal employee Matt Darvas.

“Villages in the areas affected near the epicentre are literally perched on the sides of large mountain faces and are made from simple stone and rock construction. Many of these villages are only accessible by 4WD and then foot, with some villages hours and even entire days walks away from main roads at the best of times. It will likely be helicopter access only for these remote villages,” Darvas said.

“Villages like this are routinely affected by landslides and it’s not uncommon for entire villages of 200, 300, up to 1000 people to be completely ‘buried’ by rock falls. We are slowly hearing reports that this may have been the case in villages in the Kaski and Gorkha regions. Delivery of medical assistance will also be a challenge. Health posts are often rudimentary in the village districts with limited services, and are not even always staffed by a registered doctor. Some villages rely on being able to access the health posts of surrounding villages. If they are ‘cut off’, it’s possible that entire villages are without medical assistance right now. ”Darvas added.

Emergency assistance

World Vision’s initial response to the plight of 50,000 people includes meeting their most pressing needs such as providing temporary shelter, blankets, sleep mats and first aid kits. The agency is also providing protection for children by setting up three child friendly spaces in order for kids to have a safe place to play.

Nepal is vulnerable

Experts say that Nepal is one of the most vulnerable countries to earthquakes. As such World Vision has been implementing earthquake preparedness training for communities in Nepal as well as running workshops for schools that seek to cut down on the risks from these natural disasters. The aid agency has launched an emergency appeal for to help the worst affected in Nepal and is calling on the general public to help with donations.

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World Vision Responds To Cyclone Pam

Cyclone Pam not only caused huge devastation in Vanuatu but made calls to world leaders by World Vision to prioritise children’s needs when dealing with disaster risks that much more important. The leaders had gathered to attend the World Conference for Disaster Risk Reduction in Japan where it was found that many proposals were put forward.

World Vision a first responder

Amongst the first responders to the crisis in Vanuatu were World Vision emergency shelter and logistics staff who made their way to the island of Tanna. The emergency responders were part of a global mobilisation of aid workers to provide assistance to the disaster stricken nation. The workers joined their country based colleagues who faced immense struggles in their response to the needs of the survivors in the aftermath of Cyclone Pam. Wind speeds of 270km per hour caused disruption to telecommunications, water and power services as well as damaging buildings leaving 3,300 displaced and killing 24 people.

We need to think about the children

Richard Rumsey, who is director of disaster risk reduction for World Vision says that the storm should remind us of the vital need to provide protection against natural disaster and in particular there needs to be special focus on children’s needs.

“The loss of life and destruction wrought by Cyclone Pam underscores a simple but significant point. The threats posed by disasters are on the rise, and it’s children who are disproportionately affected when disasters happen,” said Mr. Rumsey.

The lesson should not go to waste

Mr. Rumsey called on world leaders not to let the lessons learned from Cyclone Pam to go to waste. Instead he says they should be the inspiration to make sure that the unique needs of children are taken into account with planning for disaster risk reduction. Michael Wolfe who is country director for World Vision Vanuatu said much the same thing adding that the organisation was extremely worried about the impact of the cyclone on communities and especially children.

World Vision needs your donation

Initial surveys of Port Vila the capital of Vanuatu carried out by World Vision suggest the devastation is so bad that many aid agencies fear the worst for other remote islands that are inhabited on the 82 island chain. There have been 37 centres established to cater to those have been evacuated and World Vision has flown in aid supplies from Brisbane. The agency has launched an appeal for donations in the countries the agency operates in.

Image Courtesy of World Vision

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World Vision Wants Global Leaders To Provide Support For Ebola Crisis

World Vision

World Vision is calling on world leaders that attended the European Union High-level Conference on Ebola to provide increased levels of support for West African children. New data suggests that in Sierra Leone alone over 8,000 children have been left orphaned. Whilst the crisis has subsided some what over the last few months the impact of the outbreak is still being felt acutely in West Africa.

Children are being badly affected by Ebola

A recent report issued by the government of Sierra Leone suggests that over 16,500 children have been directly impacted by the outbreak of Ebola since the disease was first detected in Guinea back in December 2013. A report from the World Bank goes on to add that nearly fifty per cent of those children have either lost one or both parents.

“Ebola has taken a huge toll on children’s survival and health in Sierra Leone and across the West Africa region. Before the outbreak, Sierra Leone already had the highest maternal mortality ratio and the second highest child mortality rate in the world and the country’s health system was among the weakest in the world, with acute shortages of qualified health care professionals, essential drugs and equipment. This situation has worsened in the past year and the Brussels conference is an opportunity for world leaders to commit further support for this incredibly challenged generation of young people,” says Leslie Scott, Director of World Vision Sierra Leone.

Number of Ebola orphans increasing

The latest statistics offered by Sierra Leone’s Ministry of Health show that over 700 kids have been diagnosed with the disease which caused approximately 450 fatalities. All over West Africa, authorities are reporting an increase in the number of orphans that are aged under 5. Officials in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone reckon that as many as 25,900 children are in dire in need of help.

World Vision providing support

World Vision is offering support to temporary community care centres for children who have been orphaned and are being placed with extended families. World Vision has been engaged in development and relief programmes in Sierra Leone for nearly two decades and is working with the government to train teachers with the skills necessary to prepare them for schools to be re-opened later this month.

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World Vision Marks One Year Anniversary Of Typhoon Haiyan

November 8th marked the one year anniversary of the world’s strongest typhoon slamming into the Philippines with devastating force. Over the last 12 months World Vision has been working hard to enable those that survived the terrible storm to start rebuilding their lives for what will hopefully be a brighter future. The organisation has managed to provide assistance to 750,000 people, nearly three quarters of which were unfortunately children.

A sombre occasion

Andrew Rosauer World Vision’s Response Director says whilst he is proud that his team gave one hundred per cent to the response, the one year mark was a sombre occasion that is dedidcated to the emotional loss people suffered from the storm. To that end, Mr. Rosauer and his team chose to commemorate the occasion with a candlelight memorial in Tacloban.

“It is important to remember those who lost their lives this time last year, and to honour the survivors’ courage, tenacity and strength. It is also a time to acknowledge the people who are still finding it difficult to adjust with so many losing loved ones, their homes, and their livelihoods. We have had a focus on ‘building back better’, but there are still many challenges ahead as we work with the communities to restore livelihoods and to prepare for disasters yet to come.”

Long term income is the biggest problem

The biggest problem seems to be one of finding and sustaining long-term income opportunities after so many people either lost their primary income earner, or their usual sources of income in the storm. Another problem is reducing the people’s vulnerability to future emergencies and improving their resilience. World Vision has provided assistance to 2,500 households that are the most vulnerable, including single parent or child headed families as well as the elderly and disabled.

Lots of people have been helped

Aside from providing shelter, the affected families were given help with their livelihoods, education and health. The agency organised cash-for work programs that supported over 85,000 individuals, with more than 21,000 receiving benefits such as livestock distribution, business start up tool kits and skills trainings.

“This year has had so many disasters that required the world’s attention: From the crisis’ in Syria, Gaza, South Sudan, the Ukraine and the Ebola outbreak– it’s fair to say that the typhoon has been sharing the world stage with other pressing issues. But the 8th of November is a time for the typhoon to be remembered. Filipino’s are always smiling and have a remarkably positive outlook. Behind the day-to day commitment of moving on, there are many heavy hearts.” Mr. Rosauer said.

Final phase of the emergency response

World Vision has now moved into the rehabilitation stage which is really the last phase of its response. Mr. Rosauer says he understands the critical part the communities play in both physical workmanship and decision making when it comes to rebuilding, so that they have the skills to deal with any other future shocks and also feel empowered.

Image courtesy of World Vision

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World Vision Joins Forces With HarvestPlus To Combat Hidden Hunger

Last month during the World Economic Forum in Davos, World Vision signed an agreement with HarvestPlus that committed both organisations to work together as they seek to improve nutrition for hundreds of millions of people that suffer from what is known as hidden hunger.

Hidden hunger is the absence in diets of crucial minerals and vitamins that puts both adults and children at risk of a variety of diseases and afflictions such as stunting, anemia, and even death. It is estimated that approximately one in three people suffer from hidden hunger with women and children at the greatest risk.

The new agreement sees both organisations combining to improve access to nutritious staple foods both for consumption at home and for sale at local markets.

Howarth Bouis Director for HarvestPlus says staple crops that are very nutritious are more readily available. There are over half a million cultivating such crops which provide higher levels of minerals and vitamins.

Mr. Bouis stressed that his organisation has limited reach and will have to work with partners who have experience in scaling up crop production. He added that World Vision has both the depth and reach needed to scale production in rural communities around the world. Both organisations are committed to exploring how best to do this together and gain a wider reach quickly with the most nutritious food.

The biofortication process is used to breed nutritious food crops. These varieties offer both higher yields and have greater resistance to pests and disease with some varieties even adapted to drought.

“World Vision is committed to improving nutrition for the world’s hungriest children, their families and communities. We can only do so much on our own. We believe more can be achieved by linking our comparative strengths with organizations like HarvestPlus, UN agencies like the World Food Programme, and companies like DSM.” said World Vision International President, Kevin Jenkins.

HarvestPlus and World Vision will begin their partnership by focusing on African countries such as Sierra Leone, Ghana, Malawi, Tanzania and Burundi.

Image Courtesy of World Vision

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World Vision Joins “No Lost Generation” Initiative For Syria

A number of aid agencies which includes World Vision have combined to lend their voice to a call for governments, NGO’s and the general public to champion Syrian children by backing the “No Lost Generation” initiative.

The agencies are so worried about the crisis facing millions of children in Syria that they have all united behind the call for public support and donations to fund vital protection and education programmes designed to alleviate the problems of mental and emotional distress for Syrian children.

Conny Lennenberg World Vision’s Regional Leader for the Middle East and Eastern Europe says millions of children in Syria are in serious need, no longer in school and living in extreme vulnerability so it is important to try to support them.

Ms. Lennenberg added that all actors around the world should to do more to avoid the loss of a generation of children. The strategy is being called the “No Lost Generation” and will be formally rolled out to the public just ahead of a major conference in Kuwait that is designed to raise money.

You can find out more information about the plight of children in Syria on social media with the hashtag #childernofsyria. Alternatively there is a website where you can find information and learn about how children are being affected by the conflict.

World Vision Brussels and EU Representation Director of Advocacy and Justice for Children, Deirdre deBurca says World Vision is very pleased that the European Commission’s Humanitarian Office has chosen to support the website.

Ms. deBurca says that the EU is the single largest donor to the region and this means they must continue to support these efforts without which the children of Syria may well never end up recovering.

To get a sense of the unfolding crisis, nearly one million Syrian refugees are children with approximately half that number aged under five and there are three million displaced children in Syria itself who face an even more dire situation.

The “No Lost Generation” strategy has roped in a number of aid agencies and nongovernmental organisations that operate throughout the region. The strategy will funnel as much as $1 billion into prragammes that will provide protection from exploitation and deliver safe education. The programmes will also seek to prevent abuse and violence as well as offer psychological care and support.

Image Courtesy of World Vision

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Violence Against Women and Girls A Big Problem

World Vision says a one major problem that remains prevalent around the world is violence against women and girls, which is a particular problem either during an emergency or immediately in its aftermath.

“As the aid response to the Philippines disaster intensifies, and horrors continue to emerge from the war in Syria, the prevention of violence against women and children must be at the front of everyone’s minds. We know from experience working in emergencies for more than 60 years, that sadly, in emergencies children are at their most vulnerable. Studies show violence increases and it is often women and girls who suffer the most. And yet, protecting them is the most consistently under-funded aspect of emergency responses, receiving on average less than a third of what is needed.” said David Thomson, head of policy and programmes for child-focused aid agency World Vision.

Whilst governments and UN agencies debate how to prevent violence against women and girls during emergencies World Vision says efforts should focus on prevention and improving what it calls “survivor led accountability”

Mr. Thompson said the agency will know it is doing a good job when victims say so. Violence often worsens in response to lack of shelter, cramped conditions and a general lack of privacy. In many cases victims are simply too afraid to report violence or they do not know how. For this reason raising awareness and focusing on prevention is key.

As the world has been reminded with the impact of the typhoon in the Philippines and the continuing violence in Syria focusing on root causes will help prevent child abuse.

Image Courtesy of World Vision

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