Browsing Category: Disaster Services

Three ways you’re providing clean water through Convoy of Hope

Hope flows through clean water. Today, billions of people around the world are plagued by a lack of access to clean water systems, causing disease and even death. However, the kindness of friends like you is changing that. Students in developing countries, disaster survivors across the United States, and those in rural communities who often feel forgotten are all having their concerns washed away through wells, water filters, and bottled water provided by Convoy of Hope.

Wells 

According to UNICEF, one in four primary schools around the world have no drinking water service. Students are often forced to decide between drinking from unsafe sources or going thirsty. Convoy of Hope is giving students the answer by providing clean water.

Ngaramtoni Primary School’s nearly 1,400 students had to rely on water from a nearby private school. It helped, but it wasn’t enough to meet students’ needs.

On December 7, 2018, a drilling rig struck water at a depth of 394 feet. As water rose up, the drilling company used compressed air to clean out the borehole, and the volume of water that came out was miraculous. It came in torrents, knocking down plants and collecting in a muddy pool before draining out to a nearby stream. The school teachers and Convoy staff were overjoyed. “Now we can do so much more,” the head teacher said.

Water Filters

When hurricanes, typhoons, and similar storms strike, the biggest problem isn’t a lack of water, but too much of it. Unsanitary flood water contaminates clean water sources — leaving people without water to drink, clean, or cook with. Convoy of Hope’s Disaster Services team has travelled all over the world bringing water filtration systems to those who need them.

Cyclone Idai slammed into southeast Africa last week. Idai left thousands of square miles of land completely underwater, and clean water is running out fast. Convoy of Hope already has a team in Malawi and another is en route to Mozambique where they will distribute relief supplies, including more than 300 water filters, to the communities affected by this disaster.

These water filtration systems are much larger than the ones you may find in your water bottle or on your sink faucet. They can be shared amongst several families and if kept clean they can last for years to come.

Bottled Water

Here in the U.S., disasters can compromise and even wipe out local water systems, too — leaving families without clean water for days or months at a time.

Families across the Midwest are currently dealing with some of the most severe flooding they’ve seen in decades. Nebraska farms are underwater, homes in Illinois have been destroyed, and several communities no longer have access to clean water as their water system has been compromised. Convoy of Hope has already delivered more than 250,000 pounds of bottled water to communities in need.

When the Camp Fire burned through the city of Paradise, California, it not only left thousands of homes and businesses burned, but it left an entire city without access to clean water. Now, almost five months since the fire, Convoy of Hope continues to send two truck loads of water to Paradise every week. This provides one of the main water sources for the city as families work to rebuild their lives.

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Children's Feeding / Disaster Services / Field Story / Join the Convoy

Four Hurricanes that changed Convoy of Hope

On August 13, 2004, Hurricane Charley barreled into Florida’s western coast as a Category 4 storm. Convoy of Hope was ahead of the storm, sending its one and only Disaster Response team. They were on the ground the same day the storm made landfall — setting up a point of distribution (POD), assisting those affected by the storm.

Eleven days later, another storm started brewing in the Atlantic Ocean — one that would become Hurricane Frances. It struck the eastern side of Florida as a Category 2 storm on September 5. Convoy called for reinforcements and began sending supplies to assist survivors on the other side of the state.

A couple weeks later, on September 16, Hurricane Ivan struck the Pensacola area of northwestern Florida.

And ten days after that, Hurricane Jeanne made landfall on Florida’s east coast where Hurricane Frances had struck less than two months before.

Four hurricanes in six weeks.

Randy Rich is a 25-year Convoy veteran and currently serves as our Vice President of Administration. He was sent with the reinforcement teams who responded to both Hurricanes Charley and Jeanne. “It was like Groundhog Day,” he says. “During our response to Hurricane Jeanne, we set up a POD in the exact same parking lot as we did during Frances.”

At the time, Convoy would arrive as quickly as possible after the disaster, set up a POD, and serve for about a week. The 2004 hurricane season demanded that the team be in full-on disaster relief mode for nearly two months straight. To provide some context, in 2003 Convoy distributed approximately 300 tractor-trailer loads altogether. In that period of 53 days in 2004, the response teams distributed 169 loads. The response even warranted a site visit from then President George W. Bush.

To say the team was stretched thin would be an understatement. But Convoy has never been afraid to lean into the difficulties surrounding a disaster response. Everyone on staff stepped up and did what they could, regardless of whether or not it was part of their job description. Supply Chain workers traveled to Florida to assist in relief work, Community Events personnel helped with distribution, and they depended on the incredible generosity and kindness of local volunteers in Florida to make our PODs flow smoothly.

“That hurricane season really helped us develop the POD concept,” says Randy. “Working through the concept of setting up a distribution hub that could service other neighborhoods and communities … all of that was developed further during those four hurricanes.”

Randy also remembers the human toll such an intense hurricane season had on the residents of Florida. He recalls seeing an elderly couple pulled up to the POD he was working at. With tears in his eyes, he recounts how desperate they looked — “They were probably going to sleep in their car that night.”

Convoy of Hope understands that hurricanes, like all natural disasters, affect everyone in their paths. It doesn’t matter who someone is, what job they have, or where they live — everyone needs to be told there’s hope and that they’re loved during those dark moments.

That’s what Convoy has been doing for 25 years, and with the help of friends like you, that’s what we’ll continue to do for decades to come.

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25 Stories That Shaped Convoy of Hope / Disaster Services