The continuation of widespread social and economic unrest in Venezuela has led to the displacement of millions of people. Families in search of economic and social security are fleeing across borders to the neighbouring countries of Columbia, Peru and Ecuador.

Ecuador has seen an increase in migrants over the last two years. With the country being a destination for permanent and semi-permanent settlements, and a transit country for those travelling across into Peru, there is a large strain on shelter and housing. Families with children are spending their nights on the streets – increasing their vulnerability.

With help from the Start Fund and in partnership with CARE International, we have been able to:

  • Deliver 1,650 individual hygiene kits and 2,200 family hygiene kits.
  • Deliver 1,650 individual and 982 family food cards to help those in need and hungry.
  • Assist those in transit through Ecuador by providing 2021 bus tickets, 1,000 communication cards for mobile credit for those that were stranded at bus stations.


5 October 2018 saw two low pressure systems cross over El Salvador. The collision of these two weather fronts caused continuous heavy rainfall for four days, which lead to rivers overflowing, homes being flooded and damage to roads.

Families had to flee their homes, leaving behind their possessions in search of safety from the flood waters. Provisional shelters weren’t adequate to hold the numbers of people who were displaced by the storms – and there weren’t enough toilets or clean water. Children were left without the basic necessities of food, water and sanitary conditions. Skin Rashes, respiratory diseases and acute watery diarrhoea have been plaguing the shelters, leaving children even more vulnerable.

With the help of Start Fund , we have been able to work in three municipalities: San Francisco Menendez, Acajutla and Concepcion Batres. Through our work we have been able to:

  • Distribute household water filters to 450 families who did not have access to clean potable water.
  • Give Family kits to 772 families (3860 individuals), containing hygiene items, non-perishable food and water filters.
  • Deploy 47 medical brigades, (comprised of community health volunteers), to conduct health checks, with a special focus on children under-five, pregnant women and older people. This was done in collaboration with the Ministry of Health.
  • Facilitate trainings that were conducted with the community, discussing good hygiene practices, how to purify water, and environmental sanitation.
  • Run clean up campaigns that were held with 300 volunteers in Las Conchas, El Borbollon, La Bomba, La Colonia and El Chorizo to clean up the communities in the aftermath of the flooding.
  • Facilitate volunteers from these communities to help fix the dirt roads and collect waste. Cleaning up the communities helped to stop the spread of diseases.

El Salvador flooding 760X428.jpg


The economic crisis in Venezuela has resulted in increased migration to other countries in South America. The migrants and refugees entering Peru have already survived the journey through Colombia and Ecuador, which is high risk due to human rights violations. Most vulnerable groups are experiencing life-threatening health issues including high rates of malnutrition. Assessments have found 54% of migrants and refugees have been victims of robberies and sexual violations or other types of abuse during their journey, or have suffered illnesses due to lack of access to medical attention.

With help from Start Fund, we have been able to work in the Peruvian city of Tumbes to:

  • Provide dignity kits to 1,165 households, (4,667 individuals).
  • Distribute cash transfers to the same 1,165 families to help meet their basic needs of health, food and water.
  • Campaigns were held against discrimination and xenophobia. They were coordinated with partners, local government, faith-based organisations, local universities and Peruvian and Venezuelan volunteers.

At the end of the Start Fund project a cultural integration and information event called ‘Down with Xenphobia’ was held. The event was addressed mainly to children and included painting murals, games, folk-dances (from Peru and Venezuela), as well as food from both counties. Approximately 2,000 people participated.


On June 4 2018, the Guatemalan Volcán de Fuego erupted, causing damage and loss of life across three central states. A staggering total of 1.7 million people were affected by pyroclastic flows and ash fall that claimed the lives of 165 people. The eruption was the most severe Guatemalan volcanic eruption in 45 years.

As part of World Vision’s response to the eruption, through the Start Fund, we concentrated on two sectors in particular: Water, sanitation and hygiene as one sector, and protection (including gender-based violence) as the second sector. Through these sectors:

  • Child Friendly Spaces were set up in 17 government-run shelters. Along with four full-time psychologists, 20 part-time volunteer psychologists were trained in how to work within the Child Friendly Spaces.
  • These Child Friendly Spaces helped 277 children.
  • Group play sessions were held for children under the age of six.
  • 34 toilets, 30 showers and vital cleaning supplies were provided to 14 shelters.
  • 24 water tanks were delivered to increase the supply of water to 14 shelters.


In July 2018, Myanmar experienced intense rains and subsequent flooding. The states of Mon and Kayin were the worst-affected and more than 25,083 people in Kayin State were evacuated. World Vision Myanmar was awarded a Start Fund grant, with which they distributed 30,000 Kyats (USD 21) each to 5,376 households, benefiting 25,764 people in 78 villages.

The cash amount was designed to meet emergency and immediate needs of households. Most of the recipients spent it on food, medicine, shelter repair and transportation to find casual work in other locations.


Since August 2017, the security and humanitarian situation in South Kivu, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), has significantly deteriorated. In January 2018 there was a large influx of people crossing the border for safety, from the DRC to Burundi.

By 28 January 2018, according to the Burundian authorities, 8,152 people (6,934 Congolese and 1,218 Burundians) had crossed Lake Tanganyika into the Burundian provinces of Rumonge and Makamba. A day later, 823 more arrived at the coasts of Burundi. By 30 January, the number of refugees which had crossed into Burundi had significantly increased to an estimated 9,078 people. 65% of those crossing the border were children.

How we helped

We supported the most vulnerable refugees in the camps by distributing 500 hygiene kits (including soap and sanitary pads for 800 women), preserving the health and dignity of vulnerable female refugees. The hygiene kits should help reduce communicable and water-borne diseases, particularly for pregnant and breastfeeding women and children under five years old.

We've also constructed two latrine blocks for 740 people to use, and two bathroom blocks (each with rain water collecting systems).

Lastly, we distributed packs, including items such as blankets, mattresses and soap to 2,473 refugees.

DRC refugees in Burundi


Albania had unprecedented rainfall in December 2017 leading to widespread flooding. Over 3,000 homes and businesses were flooded. Some 75,000 residents were affected by power cuts and thousands of hectares of farmland were submerged underwater. Families were left in desperate need of food, shelter and other necessities.

In the aftermath, communities were in desperate need of food. Most of their food reserves were destroyed by the flood and they were struggling to survive without support. We reached 2,620 people with food and other items such as blankets, clean-up kits and other domestic materials. We worked with social services, municipalities and community leaders, to prioritise families with low income, from Roma and Egyptian minorities, and households with disabled members and young children. The urgent need became even more critical in light of worsening weather conditions. Providing food and other aid enabled households to use the little money they had to buy other essentials that the project couldn’t supply.


Since 1 October 2014 you've helped us raise over £38,808 for our emergency work.

This enables us to be better prepared when emergencies strike, so we can save more lives of children in the world’s hardest places.