Safeguarding Children and Vulnerable Adults

World Vision has mobilised its rapid response teams to assess the extent of yesterday’s deadly volcanic eruption in Guatemala as the aid agency gears to provide urgent assistance to the most affected.

Hundreds of personnel from the police, aid workers and military have been deployed, organising evacuations and setting up temporary shelters. Rescuers are still trying to reach a number of villages and the death toll is expected to rise.

So far 25 people have been reported dead, over 3,000 evacuated; and scores hospitalised.

Jess Dinstl, World Vision UK’s emergency response manager said: “We are concerned by reports that children are among the dead. Our colleagues on the ground say that at least 20 people, including 12 children, have been hospitalised so far while the death toll is expected to rise.

“World Vision has also activated a rapid response team to establish how best we can support the affected whom we understand will be in their thousands. At the moment we are monitoring the situation to determine the status of families within areas we work in. Fuego has long been known to be one of Latin America's most active volcanoes but this is Guatemala's deadliest such event since 1902, when an eruption of the Santa Maria volcano killed thousands of people,” she added.

World Vision is also coordinating with the National System for Disaster Reduction (CONRED) to provide timely assistance to those in need.

The eruption has affected more than 1.7 million people, including 3,100 who were evacuated, according to CONRED.

The intensity of the eruption spewed rocks, ash and lava for more than 25 kilometres in villages across the country, destroying homes, crops and communication routes.

The La Aurora international airport, in Guatemala City, has also been closed due to the fall of fine ash. Meanwhile, authorities have urged people living near the volcano to evacuate immediately, as more eruptions are feared.

This morning, World Vision UK announced new measures to keep children and vulnerable adults safe from harm.

World Vision UK is part of the World Vision Global Partnership and together we are committed to the continuous improvement of our safeguarding policies and processes.

We are working on six areas:

  • Increasing our dedicated safeguarding capacity.
  • Taking a risk-based approach to improving our screening procedures, focusing specifically on those who have access to vulnerable adults and children and/or access to child-related information.
  • Strengthening recruitment and references practices, ensuring that reasons for leaving previous and current employment are fully documented and checked.
  • Improving safeguarding training at induction and throughout employment to ensure that staff fully understand their obligations in relation to polices, practices and behaviours and the consequences of non-compliance.
  • Improving our systems and processes for recording and reporting allegations and outcomes.
  • Fully participating in the on-going initiatives to improve safeguarding across the sector.

 Read the joint agency statement in full here.