Disaster Relief

Sandy survivor: "At night, we are so cold"

As parts of the East Coast continue recovery efforts in the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy, a nor'easter threatens to add to the misery of hard-hit areas.

World Vision's Laura Reinhardt shares the story of a family whose apartment flooded, leaving them to face bone-chilling nights without power or heat ever since.

Why did I pray?

World Vision's Kari Costanza traveled to Rwanda, where she met Solange, whose life was turned upside-down in a short period of time.

Fighting caused Solange and her family flee their home in the Democratic Republic of Congo. After arriving in Kiegeme refugee camp, Solange lost her 3-year-old daughter, Rebecca.

Kari met Solange in a hospital, where she was staying with her baby, Esther. Kari shares her thoughts on meeting Solange and Esther -- and the tragic news she received after returning to the United States.

PHOTOS: Witness to history

September 22 marks World Vision’s 62nd anniversary of serving children, families, and communities in need.

World Vision photographs document the most tragic crises of the past six decades. Today, many of these places have seen healing and recovery, thanks to the work of nongovernmental organizations.

Mopping up again

Eleven years ago today, in the aftermath of the terrorist attacks of 9/11, Americans came together to support and care for those whose lives had been torn apart by the incredible tragedy.

Today, in a similar spirit, Americans are coming together again to care for those left devastated by Hurricane Isaac, which swept across the U.S. Gulf Coast in areas severely damaged by Hurricane Katrina just seven years ago.

Hear how people have reached out to care for their neighbors in the wake of the storm's landfall nearly two weeks ago.

Remembering Hurricane Katrina, responding to Hurricane Isaac

After wreaking havoc across the Dominican Republic and Haiti, killing at least 21 people and forcing thousands to evacuate, Hurricane Isaac pounded the Gulf Coast with heavy rains and high winds on the seventh anniversary of Hurricane Katrina.

Phyllis Freeman, World Vision's domestic disaster response director, remembers that fateful day seven years ago and shares her thoughts on our current response to Isaac.

Smiles, laughter in the midst of crisis

World Vision's Mariana Chokaa reports from Niger, a country left reeling from the drought and hunger crisis that has devastated Africa's Sahel region. At a local clinic, where one might expect to encounter the desperation of malnourished children, she instead observes a downright cheerful atmosphere.

What explains this? World Vision's early interventions amid increasingly dire conditions have helped save lives.

Flooding in Philippines causes devastation

Eleven days of downpour has caused flooding in Manila, the capital city of the Philippines.

Sixty percent of the city is now under water, and streets have turned into waterways. Close to 1.5 million people are affected by this disaster.

World Vision is on the ground, working to bring help to families in need.

You can help families in Alabama get back on their feet

Last year, a series of destructive tornadoes ripped through the American South, devastating families and communities. This year, World Vision is organizing a series of mission trips to come alongside survivors as they continue to recover and rebuild. Laura Reinhardt reports on one mother in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, who has already seen the compassion and generosity of others firsthand.

Before disasters strike

There's a common misconception that, whether we’re ordinary citizens or professional disaster-responders, we’re all helplessly at the mercy of unexpected, random disasters, both natural and man-made.

The truth is, it’s rare for disasters to be totally random -- and they’re almost never totally unexpected!

Organizations like World Vision and professionals who engage in disaster response are increasingly investing time and energy into what we call “early warning/early action.” The more we can predict when and where a disaster will strike, the more we can prepare for it. And the more we prepare for it, the less traumatic and devastating it will be when it actually happens.

There are a number of different tools we have available to assist in the prediction of disasters. Let’s talk about two main types here.

[Infographic] Drought, food crisis, and famine: What's the difference?

Drought, food crisis, and famine: When the technicality of these terms is stripped away, we simply associate them with people not getting the food and water they need to survive. While this is easy enough to understand as a general concept, the "how," "why," and "what can I do" are a bit more complex.

In order to make these concepts easier to understand, we've broken in them down into an easy-on-the-eyes infographic. Click the image below to get the full scoop!

Mauritania: A story of life or death

Rich Stearns, president of World Vision U.S., recently warned that we must take decisive action now to prevent the hunger crisis in West Africa's Sahel region from devolving into outright famine, similar to what was seen in parts of the Horn of Africa last year.

Today, World Vision's Adel Sarkozi writes from Mauritania, confirming this message: West Africa may not be making headlines in the media, but the humanitarian situation there is dire, and we must act immediately.

Mission teams: An answer to tornado survivors’ prayers and dreams

In April 2011, I arrived in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, to a scene of utter devastation after a series of tornadoes wreaked havoc across the state and the American Southeast.

It was hard to imagine what the city looked like before the storm swept through. But it was not hard to imagine what the people were like -- because their strength and caring were evident in how they responded.

I got the opportunity to meet Tracy and his wife, Tiffaney. Tracy was built like a football linebacker, while his wife was a petite woman with a big heart.

They talked about the day of the storm. Tiffaney had laughed when Tracy started running their three children through tornado safety exercises. She stopped laughing when they saw the huge tornado heading right toward them.

Fighting famine is ineffective aid

It’s popular in the press to judge a charity by its efficiency. Donors want to know whether their money is being used effectively, and journalists play a valuable part in keeping organizations accountable.

Without downplaying the important role the media play in this respect, I believe the public’s concerns about effective aid would be better served if the press also paid attention to slow-building disasters early on -- before they begin claiming lives. Inefficient responses to disasters can cost as much as 80 times more than a well-planned early response.

One year later: Rebuilding normal in Tuscaloosa and Joplin

Last year at this time, I came home to find an urgent message on the phone from my manager. “Can you be on a plane at 7 a.m. tomorrow morning?”

I could, and I was -- heading to Joplin, Missouri, after a catastrophic tornado ripped through the town in the late afternoon of May 22, 2011.

During my first day on the ground there, a Joplin resident asked me whether I’d ever seen anything like it. Sadly, I had to answer yes. It was the second time in just over a month that I’d covered the aftermath of a deadly tornado.

PHOTOS: Desperate struggles amid hunger crisis in Niger

As is the case throughout much of West Africa's Sahel region, children and families in the village of Tabouche, Niger, are taking extreme measures just to survive. An ongoing drought continues to fuel a hunger crisis that shows no signs of letting up.

The images below provide a glimpse into a part of the world that desperately needs our attention and assistance. (Photos by Chris Sisarich for World Vision.)

PHOTOS: Tornadoes slam Dallas-Fort Worth area

On April 3, a series of destructive tornadoes touched down in Dallas and Tarrant counties in Texas, causing destruction to neighborhoods and leaving many families in need. Check out these photos of the aftermath -- and how World Vision is responding from our domestic disaster response hub in North Texas, which is strategically located to deploy quickly into disaster areas across the country. (Photos by Mindy Mizell.)