World Vision International (WVI)
Today is a day of observance mostly unknown to people outside of the international relief and development world — the International Day for Disaster Reduction.
But with the American media largely preoccupied with the goings-on of our dysfunctional political environment, I’m [Elizabeth Ranade-Janis] taking the opportunity to commemorate this day you’ve likely never heard of by talking about four disasters you’ve probably not heard too much about.
These disasters impact vulnerable children and families, and they deserve more attention.
Drought and famine in the Horn of Africa
What’s going on: Five countries — Kenya, Ethiopia, Somalia, Tanzania and Djibouti — have been severely impacted by drought and famine, causing major population displacement as people escape areas affected by food shortages and famine.
Scale of disaster: Needs and stats vary by country, but some 13 million people face food insecurity as of September. In Somalia alone, the United Nations reports that there are 450,000 malnourished children — 190,000 of whom are suffering severe acute malnutrition.
How it got this bad: Consecutive failed rains, inflated food prices, reduced crop yield, and eroded coping mechanisms all contribute to the current devastating state of food insecurity.
What World Vision is doing: World Vision is implementing life-saving interventions for 2.5 million children and families across four countries, in the areas of food security; nutrition; water, sanitation, and hygiene; livelihood recovery; and child protection.
Typhoons in the Philippines
What’s going on: Back-to-back typhoons Nesat and Nalgae significantly impacted multiple regions of Luzon Island, including the metropolitan area surrounding Manila, the capital city of the Philippines.
Scale of disaster: Some 3 million people are affected, with a death toll of at least 100.
What World Vision is doing: World Vision will implement a six-month emergency response plan, responding to at least seven towns in Isabela and 32,000 families in the impacted areas of Bulacan and Zambales with relief goods and psychosocial support for children.
Severe flooding in Cambodia
What’s going on: Widespread, severe flooding has hit areas throughout the country — the result of typhoons and higher than expected rainfall.
Scale of disaster: More than 200,000 households have been affected; the known death toll at this time is 172 (52 of whom are children). Additionally, 17 of Cambodia’s 24 provinces are impacted, with more than 300 schools closed.
What World Vision is doing: World Vision is carrying out assessments to determine the immediate needs of children and families in our development program areas, which have been severely affected.
Monsoon rains in Thailand
What’s going on: Severe flooding following torrential monsoon rains has caused the worst flooding Thailand has seen in 50 years. Cities and industrial zones are under water, massive areas of rice fields are flooded, and the government is struggling to manage the flow of millions of cubic meters of water headed south toward Bangkok, the capital city.
Scale of disaster: The government of Thailand has declared disaster areas in 30 of Thailand’s 76 provinces; the death toll is currently uncertain.
What World Vision is doing: World Vision will support families in the rehabilitation process in at least four area development programs and in areas where needs are most pressing. Our team aims to reach 9,000 people.
When disasters like these strike, families living in poverty are often hit first and hardest — and they have the fewest resources available to cope and recover. In a time when economic uncertainty affects so many American families, it is also good to remember others in the world whose hardships are life-threatening. Today offers an opportunity to reflect on how we can help reduce the impact of disasters on vulnerable families everywhere.