Cyclone Fani: World Vision warns millions of children at risk


World Vision is ready to provide emergency humanitarian assistance in Bangladesh and India, as Cyclone Fani threatens millions of families.

Major coastal cities and communities are among those in the path of the storm, which is currently intensifying and forecast to make landfall in eastern India on Friday. Thousands of people from areas along the coastline in India have begun to be evacuated.

The cyclone is the first severe, cyclonic storm to have formed in April in India’s oceanic neighbourhood since 1976, according to the India Meteorological Department.

Franklin Jones, Interim Head of Humanitarian and Emergency Affairs at World Vision India, says: “World Vision is well prepared to immediately respond to the needs of the communities when Cyclone Fani makes landfall. Plans for immediate distribution of emergency relief items have also been made. All programmes where World Vision works along the path of Cyclone Fani have been alerted and we have activated disaster preparedness plans at the community-level.”

Cyclone Fani is the strongest recorded cyclone in years for this part of the world at this time of year. Tens of millions of people are in its path.

We are extremely concerned about the impact on children and families living in coastal areas, where winds will be strongest, as well as those living in low lying areas that will be prone to flash-floods and landslides.

- World Vision Bangladesh National Director, Fred Witteeven

Heavy rains are also forecast to lash the world’s largest refugee camp in Cox’s Bazar, home to over 900,000 Rohingya refugees, in the coming days.

Witteveen says: “World Vision has emergency supplies ready to go in the camps and thousands of refugees have worked on improvements to camp roads and drains over the last few months. Nevertheless people are living in homes made of bamboo and on steep hillsides, which puts them at even greater risk."

World Vision is closely coordinating with other INGOs and government authorities in Bangladesh and India, and is strategically positioned in the areas in path of the cyclone to be able to mobilise quickly when it makes landfall.

Meimei Leung, Regional Humanitarian and Emergency Affairs Director for Asia Pacific at World Vision, says: “This is the world's most disaster-prone region, and millions of children are at risk. That’s why we believe disaster preparedness and climate change awareness are so important in building local and national-level resilience to mitigate the risks of future disasters.

“World Vision invests in building community resilience and the resilience of children to cope with disasters. A prepared community makes for a resilient community. World Vision, in India and Bangladesh, is geared to take action, focusing on the needs of the most vulnerable communities, especially children.”

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