March 25, 2015 | 3:00 PM
Springfield, Mo.Convoy of Hope’s Disaster Response team in Vanuatu has distributed 18,000 pounds of rice on the hard-hit island of Tanna, with an additional 18,000 pounds set for distribution in the coming days. The team is purchasing the rice locally and closely monitoring the transportation and distribution of the staple. “In addition to providing much needed meals to storm survivors, we’re also prepping 4,000 hygiene kits for distribution on Tanna and Efate,” says Kary Kingsland, senior vice president. “Working with partners, we’re also constructing 22 hand-washing stations to help in limiting the spread of disease.” Stephen, a local pastor, was left hopeless after the storm, not knowing what to do to help his fellow countrymen. That changed when he encountered Convoy of Hope’s Disaster Response team. “My heart jumped because I knew somebody had seen that my people and I were in a bad situation,” he says. “Many people feel they are in a hopeless situation, but our hearts are lifted and we feel that someone cares for us.” According to Kingsland, rebuilding supplies are being prepped for shipment from the World Distribution Center in Springfield, Mo. “Many structures were damaged or destroyed,” he adds.
March 18, 2015 | 1:00 PM
Springfield, Mo.Damage reports are slowly coming in due to the remoteness of the island chain and the lack of communications in the wake of the storm. The United Nations is reporting that 3,300 people are displaced. With a population of a little more than 220,000 in Vanuatu, that represents a significant portion of the population. “In addition to our team that is already on the ground in Vanuatu, we’ve dispatched another team from our headquarters in Springfield, Mo., to join them in the assessment efforts,” says Kary Kingsland, senior vice president. “It’s clear there are thousands of people who are needing immediate help and we’re looking at ways to meet those needs as soon as possible.” Kingsland adds that the Disaster Services team is focusing on four islands as points of impact. “On one island alone, 80 percent of the 7,500 homes have been partially or completely destroyed,” he says. Convoy of Hope has had a presence In Vanuatu in the past. A few years ago, we helped set up a medical clinic on one of the country’s remote islands. In doing so, we brought lifesaving services to families and children.
March 17, 2015 | 4:00 PM
Springfield, Mo.On Tuesday, March 17, the first Disaster Services Response Team arrived in Port Vila, Vanuatu. Initial damage assessment has begun. On Wednesday, March 18, the second Disaster Services Response Team departs for Port Vila, Vanuatu.
March 14, 2015 | 12:00 PM
Springfield, Mo.Convoy of Hope is sending a Disaster Services Response Team to the Pacific island nation of Vanuatu after Tropical Cyclone Pam caused major destruction and reportedly killed dozens. “We are offering our teams, help and assistance to our in-country partners,” says Kary Kingsland, senior vice president. Humanitarian-aid workers on Vanuatu have described "unbelievable destruction.” Though unconfirmed, several media outlets are also reporting that dozens have been killed. “There are outlying islands that may have taken the brunt of the storm,” adds Kingsland. “As when Typhoon Haiyan struck the Philippines we want to help ensure that no communities are overlooked and the best way to do that is to support and work closely with our in-country partners.” During Haiyan, Convoy of Hope provided emergency food, water and supplies to remote communities. In the months after the typhoon, teams helped rebuild 100 homes. Updates to the response can be found here.