World Vision halts Middle East work

Federal Way-based World Vision has halted its humanitarian-relief efforts in Jersualem, Gaza and the West Bank until the recent violence between israelis and Palestinians subsides.

Dan Simmons, who directs the organization’s emergency relief and long-term work in the Middle East region, said this week that many of its employees there are under house arrest and facing possible death “if they leave their homes. The rest are confined to their homes for security.”

World Vision serves about 200,000 people annually in the region through community and economic development projects, including healthcare and education for nearly 9,000 sponsored children. The organization also helps sponsor two schools for deaf children, therapy for disabled persons and counseling for children and families affected by the violence.

The annual budget for the work is $4.2 million.

Simmons said Israeli military action and the Palestinian suicide bombings are preventing World Vision workers “from entering communities where we usually operate, including Bethlehem.”

World Vision, a Christian humanitarian organization, started its operations in the war-torn area in 1975.

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