World emergencies

When disasters hit

Natural disasters and emergencies can devastate the communities they hit, and the speed of a response can be – literally – a matter of life and death.

World Vision’s priority is to save lives, and often the first response is to distribute a range of items such as shelter kits, food, clean water and hygiene products.

Our work focuses on children, especially those left vulnerable because they have lost parents or carers, or have been left homeless.

Whenever possible we integrate our emergency relief responses with our development and advocacy activities, to ensure communities receive long-term support – such as income-generating projects – as they recover.

Different types of emergencies

World Vision responds to two main types of emergency: 

  • Rapid-onset disasters: earthquakes, cyclones, floods and tsunamis
  • Slow-onset disasters: droughts, famine, conflict and war

In large responses, World Vision works with the United Nations and other aid agencies to avoid duplication and make sure there are no gaps in the response.

How do we judge the need of an emergency?

Disasters or emergencies are assessed by World Vision as soon as it’s possible to do so; for example, when roads are considered safe to travel, or floods have receded. Then a response is worked out based on what people need and what damage has been done.

It will focus on helping those most in need and the most vulnerable, including children, women and the elderly, to ensure their basic needs are met and their human rights protected. 

Who is most affected by emergencies?

Poorer communities and countries aren’t the only ones hit by disasters, but they have fewer resources and less-robust infrastructure with which to deal with them. Australia is known as a country of terrible extremes and we’ve lived through some devastating emergencies, such as Black Saturday, but we have well-trained and resourced emergency services, some of the world’s best hospitals and doctors, high building standards, stable governments and countless other factors that help contribute to minimising the impact of emergencies and speeding up recovery.

Not every country is so lucky, and when emergencies hit there is little room for error, as:

  • Population pressures force people to live in unplanned communities with little or no infrastructure.
  • Many people live in risk-prone areas, such as earthquake zones and floodplains.
  • When people can’t afford proper building materials, houses are structurally unsound or unsafe. 

Being prepared and having strategies in place to respond to emergencies is just one way World Vision helps people most in need.

Why we need to be disaster ready

Natural disasters can’t be prevented, but we can be prepared. In an emergency, the first 72 hours are critical. Our Disaster Ready fund means we can start helping with clean water, food, shelter, healthcare, psychosocial support and protection as soon as we’re needed.

Donations to Disaster Ready allow us to pre-stock warehouses with life-saving supplies and ensure our staff and fully trained and ready to respond when needed. Funds could be used to support long-term work in devastated areas, or building back better, so the community can better survive future disasters.

If you would like to help us prepare for a speedy response, please click here to donate today.

Where World Vision is responding

  • Nepal Earthquake
  • South Sudan
  • West Africa Ebola Crisis
  • Syria Refugee Crisis
  • Cyclone Pam in Vanuatu 

Where World Vision has responded

  • Haiti earthquake
  • Pakistan floods
  • Japan tsunami

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