Disaster Relief

Our disaster relief work saves lives – but it does far more than that. We warm, nourish, comfort and protect children who’ve experienced the unthinkable. We continue to walk beside them as their communities rebuild. And we press governments for programs and policies to secure their futures.

In 2018, our disaster response teams acted rapidly in 19 major global emergencies, bringing life-saving aid and protection to children.  
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We’re calling on Canada’s government to place children who are enduring famine and civil war among their top priorities.
Read about it >
We’re partnering with Canada’s tech giants on learning solutions for Syrian children who’ve lost years of schooling.
Learn more >
  • 21,914 people leaned how to manage disasters and respond to emergencies in order to protect themselves in times of crisis
  • 105 community groups are teaching children and families to manage disasters and respond to emergencies in order to protect themselves in times of crisis
  • 85,968 people in emergencies received life-saving support like tents, cooking sets and hygiene kits
  • 5,053 people impacted by disaster or displacement received psychosocial support to help them cope with trauma and stress
*Results of World Vision Canada’s projects achieved from October 2018 to September 2019 

Our approach
When disaster strikes, World Vision is the first in and the last out. We first respond with life-saving emergency aid, and then we stay for the long term to help families recover and rebuild.

Here’s how we work:
  • Within the first hours after a disaster: World Vision staff members closest to the disaster respond with reports on the level of severity and need.
  • Within 24 to 72 hours of the disaster: Our global rapid response team is on the ground, making assessments and beginning to provide emergency relief.
  • Within 72 hours of the disaster: Our pre-positioned relief supplies are loaded up, transported, and distributed from local and international warehouses.
  • For the first week after a disaster: We continuously distribute emergency aid and relief to affected residents. 
  • Over the first month: We continue to work to help families stabilize. We provide things like tarpaulins for temporary shelter. Water purification tablets or clean water. Hygiene kits. Healthcare.  It’s also when we set up our Child Friendly Spaces, so children have safe, nurturing places to heal and play.

Our Global Rapid Response Team brings together international disaster relief experts from around the world. They are deployed within hours of a major emergency to support local teams and communities.

The team includes specialists in health and nutrition, human resources, finance, logistics, security, food aid, child protection, information technology, and communications. They all work as a team to provide effective aid.

In a large-scale response, World Vision collaborates with the United Nations and other local aid agencies. This collaboration maximizes the effectiveness of the response, helping ensure all needs are met while reducing duplication of efforts.

While disaster relief is critical for saving lives, it’s not enough. Communities need to rebuild – emotionally, physically and practically. This is complicated when large-scale disasters can leave hundreds of thousands of people homeless and vulnerable. 

World Vision is the “last out” of a community, meaning we walk with people for the long haul. We help survivors recover and rebuild. This means helping with permanent housing, clean water systems, sustainable sources of food, access to education and re-established livelihoods. Sometimes, these things can be rebuilt from existing infrastructure. In other cases, they must be created all over again.

We work to help communities build back “better and stronger.” The homes we built in the Philippines, after Typhoon Haiyan tore through the region in 2013, are just one example.

Our global pre-positioning resource network ensures that World Vision is always prepared to respond to any disaster, anywhere in the world. The team pre-positions the supplies and develops preparedness plans, programming standards, logistic assessments and logistic plans.

The supplies are ready to go in seven different warehouses, strategically located around the world. These relief supplies are ready for up to 225,000 beneficiaries at any time. This helps ensure our ability to reach survivors with emergency supplies as quickly and efficiently as possible. 

Our global staff are trained and prepared to drop everything when a major disaster strikes. In our national offices around the world – like the one in Mississauga, Canada – staff work tirelessly to communicate with Canadians with updates from the disaster region overseas, including details about the needs on the ground.
Civil conflict is one of the variables contributing to what we call a “fragile region.” In a fragile region, a government either can’t, or won’t, act on its responsibility to protect the rights of its population. These are incredibly challenging places to live. Unlike people in stable countries facing a natural disaster, families in fragile regions experience a near-constant state of emergency.

Children often face great danger in countries like this, and many don’t live beyond early childhood. The risk of malnutrition and disease are a constant threat. In these parts of the world, exploitation – like trafficking or forcing children to serve as soldiers – is a terrible reality.

Currently, we have identified seven fragile countries for our focus: Afghanistan, Democratic Republic of Congo, Haiti, Pakistan, Somalia, South Sudan and Sudan. In these contexts, we provide emergency relief that includes things like:

  • Access to nutritious food, clean water and health care
  • Improving local skills and abilities to respond effectively
  • Peace building
  • Livelihood rehabilitation
  • Education

Our goal is to help fragile countries become safer, more stable places where children and their families can grow, learn, live and enjoy the prospect of a long, healthy future.
In 2015, South Sudan was declared the most fragile state in the world. Several of the communities have been affected by conflict or drought. Through the FEED program, World Vision helped improve household year-round access to food from 21% to 26% in just one year.
Children under age five in Kenya, Ethiopia and Somalia were among the most vulnerable during the Horn of Africa drought. Through the Community Management of Acute Malnutrition program, World Vision helped communities to successfully treat 30,974 young children for malnutrition.

Ways to give to Disaster Relief

Support Disaster Response: $25+

At the very onset of a crisis, World Vision mobilizes to provide emergency relief.

Your help to provide emergency food, water, medicine, shelter and other supplies to children and families will bring much needed hope and quick relief during extreme hardship.


Help Children Living in Danger: $25+

Protect and provide for children living in unstable, dangerous countries.

Provide life-saving essentials such as nutritious food, clean water, sanitation, shelter and basic household items and more.


Discover where we work


Where We Work

Together with your support, we are bringing about real change for children, families and communities in more than 50 countries.
From Canada to the world. With love.

children walking through brush