World Vision activists yesterday spoke about their experiences helping refugees from South Sudan, Bangladesh and Myanmar, detailing the needs and challenges faced as the charity’s Taiwan chapter prepares to hold its annual famine campaign.
World Vision Taiwan’s 29th 30-Hour Famine Hero Rally titled “Act against Hunger” is to begin at noon today in New Taipei City and Kaohsiung. The campaign calls on the public to fast for 30 hours and make donations to help those without sufficient food at home and abroad.
South Sudanese refugee-turned-activist Francis Mading Chol said the civil war that broke out in 2013, two years after the country became independent from Sudan, has caused a humanitarian crisis in his nation.
Over the past five years, about 20,000 people have been killed and the number of refugees has exceeded 3 million, with 1.57 million at home and 2 million fleeing to Sudan, Ethiopia and other neighboring countries, Chol told a news conference in Taipei.
Forcibly displaced from his home in 1996 at the age of 12, during the Second Sudanese Civil War from 1983 to 2005, Chol grew up in the Kakuma refugee camp in Kenya and decided to return home in 2009 to reunite with his mother, even though he could have moved to Canada.
With financial assistance from charitable organizations, Chol finished college in 2015 and began working in the charity sector.
“Actually, my life story is not that different from other children in South Sudan. It’s an example that you can support a child and when the child grows up and becomes successful, he can support other children,” Chol said.
Ajab-Aram Raquel Macapagat of World Vision Philippines, which is in charge of the organization’s projects in Bangladesh’s Cox’s Bazar, home to about 900,000 refugees who have fled violence in Myanmar’s northern Rakhine State since August last year, also attended the news conference.
More than 55 percent of the refugees in 30 makeshift settlements are younger than 18 and have little access to basic needs, such as water, sanitation, employment, education and healthcare, Macapagat said.
The needs and vulnerabilities of the refugees are immense, and with the monsoon and cyclone season arriving, they are at major risk from floods and landslides, which could exacerbate the existing public health crisis, Macapagat said.
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