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Violence, dire poverty compel children to flee Central America

posted by July 16th, 2014

As tens of thousands of children from Central America flee to escape violence and poverty, World Vision continues its work in these countries to address the root causes of poverty and child exploitation.

The surge of unaccompanied children from Mexico and Central America flowing to the border and overwhelming detention centers and federal agents in Texas and Arizona is gaining attention as a humanitarian crisis. (more…)

Pray for children fleeing violence

posted by July 16th, 2014

Photo Caption: A three-year-old in El Salvador, where violence and gang warfare forced his father to flee from their home. The child’s mother is afraid to go out and can’t work because she fears being targeted by the gang members who were after her husband. Violence is forcing thousands of Central American children to flee their homes, overwhelming U.S. borders.

More than 52,000 unaccompanied children — most from Central America – have entered the United States since last October seeking refuge from violence and oppressive poverty in their nations. Heedless to the dangers involved, these unaccompanied minors crossed vast distances with little protection or resources, arriving in the U.S. with just the clothes on their backs and little else.

Join us in praying for children caught in this maelstrom: (more…)

El Salvador’s unwanted fame

posted by July 11th, 2014

El Salvador holds the second spot on a list where last place is best—the list of the most dangerous countries.  Unhappily, they have the second highest murder rate in the world in 2011, after neighboring Honduras. The rampant gang violence not only ends lives, it is stifling development and practically holding the population hostage.

While murder rates in Central America are the highest in the world, it is often said that this area, which is often referred to as the “northern triangle”, is of the most dangerous areas of the world, outside of active war zones. The battle is being fought by heavily armed gangs. And, much like active war zones, it is often the innocent who are most affected.

Caught in the Crossfire 

The sun shines bright on a small cinderblock house in a seemingly sleepy town outside of San Miguel, eastern El Salvador. Its inviting rays warm the air and illuminate the atmosphere, inviting people outside to where a welcome breeze can be felt.

But Maria Esperanza*, 27, and her 3-year-old twins, Carlos Antonio and Estrella Elizabeth, stay inside their small, dark home. A second wall blocks the sun’s rays from entering the only window and hides the building and its inhabitants from the nearby street. (more…)

Fleeing Gangs, Children Head to U.S. Border

posted by July 11th, 2014

We wanted to share this article from the New York Times that helps shed light on why children are fleeing violence in Central America. Here is an excerpt. Click here for the full article (in English).

SAN PEDRO SULA, Honduras — Anthony O. Castellanos disappeared from his gang-ridden neighborhood on the eastern edge of Honduras’s most dangerous city, so his younger brother, Kenneth, hopped on his green bicycle to search for him, starting his hunt at a notorious gang hangout known as the “crazy house.”

They were found within days of each other, both dead. Anthony, 13, and a friend had been shot in the head; Kenneth, 7, had been tortured and beaten with sticks and rocks. They were among seven children murdered in the La Pradera neighborhood of San Pedro Sula in April alone, part of a surge in gang violence that is claiming younger and younger victims. (more…)

Children Fleeing Violence is Humanitarian Crisis

posted by July 11th, 2014

World Vision declares the growing exodus of unaccompanied children a humanitarian crisis.

 

The growing avalanche of unaccompanied children reaching US boarder is expected to reach 60,000 this year and 130,000 next year!

 

The “Northern Triangle of Central America” – composed of El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras – has one of the highest rates of violence in the world. World Vision is coordinating an action plan for the next 15 months with the goal of providing humanitarian assistance to children affected by violence and displaced in Central America and Mexico and to contribute to the reduction of chronic violence in the most affected areas.

With 90.4 homicides per 100,000 people, Honduras remains the most violent country in the world.  In terms of comparison, these countries experience considerably more civilian casualties than in any other countries, including those with ongoing armed conflicts or war, such as Democratic Republic of Congo  (28.3 in 2012) and Afghanistan (6.5 in 2012).

Escalating violence in the region is due to increased drug trafficking, criminal organizations, and weak states.  Although the most visible impact of violence is the murder rate, there are other consequences on the rise such as increasing recruitment and murder of children and adolescents, extortion, kidnapping, poor access to health and education, increasing sexual and gender based violence, high social and economic costs and the forced displacement of people, both within countries and across borders. (more…)