World emergencies

Earthquake strikes in the Solomon Islands

Photo by World Vision staff

A powerful 7.7 magnitude earthquake shook the Solomon Islands in the early hours of Friday 9 December. The epicentre of the quake was located 68 kilometres west of Kirakira, a provincial capital in the Solomon Islands, at a depth of 48 kilometres, according to the US Geological Survey (USGS).

Based on an initial assessment, 4052 people in 35 villages have been directly affected. Whilst there have been no reports of major damage or casualties, hundreds of homes have been damaged or destroyed. It is the start of the wet season in the Solomon Islands, so shelter assistance is a priority as there are reports of families sleeping in the open due to damaged or destroyed houses.

World Vision has existing work in the area, and will respond in partnership with the government. World Vision will assist approximately 2000 people affected by the earthquake in the provinces of Makira and Malaita with shelter kits and relief goods such as cooking utensils, axes and tools.

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Magnitude 6.5 earthquake strikes in Aceh, Indonesia 


On Wednesday 7 December a 6.5 magnitude earthquake struck in Aceh, Indonesia. As of 9 December, the National Disaster Management Authority reports that over 270 buildings, including houses, public facilities and schools, have collapsed or been damaged. Over 600 people have been injured and Indonesia’s National Disaster Mitigation Agency has the death toll at 99, but this is expected to rise. According to media reports, local hospitals are overwhelmed and facing a shortage of medical personnel, medicine and facilities. 

World Vision Indonesia is sending a three-member team to the affected area to see the damage and assess how best to respond. World Vision does not have existing projects in the affected area.

“Initial reports we are receiving have us concerned especially about building collapses and people trapped. My understanding is that, although the tsunami hit the province in 2004, this is the first time such a large earthquake has hit this part of Aceh. There are some especially old public buildings that would be vulnerable to collapse. As a child-focused organisation, we are also very concerned about ensuring children are protected, no matter the impact of the quake.

Getting help to those in need will be challenging since the area is remote. We are already seeing pictures of damaged roads and traffic becomes a problem. In ideal conditions it can take 3-5 hours to reach the impacted areas from the airport, seaport and big cities,” said Margarettha Siregar, World Vision Indonesia Director of Humanitarian and Emergency Affairs.

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.

Become an Emergency Responder Your donation will help us respond to emergencies, whenever and wherever they strike.

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 ready to respond to emergencies

Through World Vision's Emergency Responder program you help reach many of the world’s most vulnerable children and their communities in situations of natural disaster and conflict.

By becoming an Emergency Responder we are able to provide communities in need around the world with life-saving supplies and ensure our staff are fully trained and ready to respond on the ground.  Funds could be used for immediate relief or support of long-term work in devastated areas, as well as building back better in areas affected by natural disaster.

Your donation can make a difference today, please become an Emergency Responder.

 Where World Vision is responding:

Previous emergency responses

  • Boxing Day Tsunami - India, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, Thailand
  • Bucaramanga Floods - Colombia
  •  Kashmir Earthquake Relief - India


  • Horn of Africa drought 
  • Jogja Earthquake - Indonesia
  • Andhra Pradesh Floods - India
  • Mala Cyclone - Myanmar
  • Dili Relief - East Timor
  • Mudslide response - Philippines
  • Mozambique Floods Response
  • Iraqi Refugee Crisis
  • Solomon Islands Earthquake support
  • Earthquake emergency intervention - Peru
  • Mozambique Flood Response
  • China Snowstorm Response
  • Cyclone Nargis - Myanmar
  • India Tsunami Rehabilitation
  • Sri Lanka Crisis 
  • Cyclone Aila - Bangladesh
  • Ketsana Floods - Philippines
  • Sumatra Earthquake - Indonesia
  • Samoa Tsunami
  • Sindh Measles Outbreak - Pakistan
  • Return & resettlement of Internally Displaced People - Haiti
  • Syria Crisis
  • Angola Cholera Response
  • Sudan Flood Response
  • Somalia Polio Response
  • Typhoon Haiyan - Philippines