Tag: Disaster Preparedness

Convoy of Hope responds to flooding & landslides in Sri Lanka

Convoy of Hope is currently responding to severe storms in Sri Lanka. Heavy rainfall has triggered widespread flooding and deadly mudslides. According to the government’s Disaster Management Center, the storms have affected at least 245,000 people and displaced more than 5,000. At least 14 fatalities have occurred to date.

Many locals relied on the now-flooded land to grow crops. With produce and income in short supply, food security is now a concern for many farmers and all who relied on them.

Working with local partners, Convoy of Hope is distributing food and other essentials to affected people. 

To support Convoy of Hope as we respond to this disaster, click here.

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Disaster Services

Against Odds, Tornadoes Claim Zero Lives In May

“La Nina could supercharge this year’s tornado season, just like it did to deadly effect in 2011,” a harrowing CNN headline from April said. Although La Nina has had a large impact on tornadic weather this year, the month of May ended with more optimistic news. Throughout the entire month of May, tornadoes caused zero fatalities in the United States.

Each year, tornadoes kill an average of 71 Americans. In the U.S., storms produce approximately 1,200 tornadoes a year, and on average, 281 of those occur within the month of May — making it the most active month of the year. Preliminary reports suggest that 289 tornadoes formed in the month of May this year, but none of them proved fatal.

“Last month was a rarity in the weather world,” Weather Channel meteorologist Orelon Sidney said. “If we look at every May going back to 1950, only 15% of them were free of fatalities.”

Unfortunately, although tornadoes did not claim any lives in the month of May, severe weather did. With or without tornadic activity, the strongest of the storms that occur in spring months have still proven themselves deadly. As seasons shift, experts still urge those who live in storm-prone areas to remain prepared for the possibility of severe weather.

“Even though spring was relatively quiet in terms of major tornado outbreaks, it is important not to let your guard down in terms of preparedness because tornadoes can happen at any time of the year,” said Stacy Lamb of Convoy of Hope’s Disaster Services team.

To learn more about how to keep yourself and your loved ones safe during storm season, click here.

Throughout storm season — and year round — Convoy of Hope stays prepared to respond in the event of a disaster. With your help, we can provide hope in every storm. To support our disaster response team, click here.

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Disaster Services

New ways to stay safe this hurricane season

The National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) predicts the 2021 Atlantic hurricane season will be more active than usual. They are expecting 13-20 named storms and 6-10 hurricanes, approximately half of which may be major hurricanes.

Recent research suggests a new focus for hurricane safety this year. A look at last year’s hurricane season showed that, while preparing for this year’s hurricane season, residents of coastal areas should plan for indirect threats in addition to the immediate dangers hurricanes present.

For years, storm surge has been regarded as the most deadly of the threats that hurricanes pose. Hurricane Laura brought a record-breaking 17-foot storm surge when it made landfall in August 2020. However, nearly all fatalities occurred after the storm passed. At least half were caused by carbon monoxide poisoning from improper generator use.

“It appears that most of the deaths are going to be indirect,” said Ed Rappaport, Deputy Director of the National Hurricane Center. “Most of the deaths appear to be … associated with the aftermath of the storm, the recovery period, and long times without power.”

Hurricane Laura caused severe damage to Louisiana’s electric grid, leaving many without power for weeks at a time. This proved to be Laura’s deadliest trait. Experts urge people in coastal areas to prepare for the effects both during and after a storm. Long periods without power may be unavoidable after a hurricane makes landfall.

Convoy of Hope has created a family preparedness plan, which can be found here. The Consumer Product Safety Commission has started a campaign to help stop carbon monoxide poisoning. Additionally, the National Weather Service has numerous resources to provide hurricane safety information.

“Last year was a record season,” Deanne Criswell of the Federal Emergency Management Agency said. “We don’t know what this season is going to be, but it just takes one storm.”

Throughout this hurricane season, Convoy of Hope suggests you stay informed and prepared to keep yourself and your loved ones safe. To donate to Convoy’s Disaster Services initiative as we continue to respond in times of disaster, click here.

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Disaster Services

Convoy of Hope Ready to Respond During Hurricane Season

When the red flags go up, Convoy of Hope is on the ground and ready to help. For our work, being prepared is crucial.

“Having the resources in our distribution center at all times … food, water, [and] hygiene items … we have them ready to go so we can get them in the trucks and on the road,” said Stacy Lamb, Convoy of Hope’s Senior Director of U.S. Disaster Services. “We have both our staff and lead volunteers around the nation trained and ready to go at a moment’s notice.”

Convoy of Hope has refined its response to disasters since 1998 — the first year the organization responded to a storm. Since then, Convoy of Hope has secured at least two of the much-needed equipment items that help in these responses. This equipment has been critical, especially when more than one disaster is happening in different parts of the country.

Convoy of Hope is in constant communication with partners on the ground prior to a disaster, and when a storm rolls in, teams are on standby and ready to move in quickly. The Convoy of Hope Disaster Services team also closely monitors weather around the globe, keeping up to date on potential natural disasters.

“We couldn’t do anything without the generous support that we have from our donors throughout the country and across the world. Thank you for all you do to help us do what we do,” Stacy said.

Convoy of Hope strives to bring hope in every storm, but the work would not be possible without donors — both large and small — giving during disasters and year-round.

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Disaster Services

Understanding Hurricanes: Safety in Education and Preparation

“Hurricanes are the most awesome, violent storms on Earth,” NASA once said. With damaging winds, deadly storm surge, and up to 100 lateral miles of rainfall, hurricanes are definitely a force to be reckoned with.

Hurricane season begins on June 1 and ends on November 30, according to the National Weather Service. As hurricane season approaches, it’s important to stay informed and to be ready for the possibility of severe weather in coastal areas. Education and preparation can make an incredible difference when disaster strikes.

Hurricanes need two primary ingredients to form: heat and wind. Warm, damp air over the ocean fuels a hurricane’s rotation when the air rises and cooler air rushes in to take its place. As this cycle continues, wind speeds increase until a tropical storm forms. Once the tropical storm’s winds reach 74 mph, the storm becomes a hurricane — which will continue to rotate and suck up sea water at a rate of up to 2 billion tons per day.

A hurricane is categorized by its wind speed using the following scale:

  • Category 1: 74-95 mph winds
  • Category 2: 96-110 mph winds
  • Category 3: 111-130 mph winds
  • Category 4: 131-155 mph winds
  • Category 5: 155+ mph winds

When a hurricane makes landfall, it generally loses power as it moves inland and loses the strength it gained from the warm ocean water. However, storm surge — which National Geographic estimates accounts for 90% of hurricane fatalities — usually accompanies a hurricane as it approaches the coast. Storm surge occurs when hurricane winds send water above the shoreline, rising up to 20 feet and rushing inland up to 100 miles.

If you find yourself in the path of a hurricane, the National Weather Service recommends boarding your windows, listening to weather updates, and following instructions — including evacuation orders — from local officials. If you do not evacuate, take shelter in the interior-most room of your home and stay clear of windows, skylights, and glass doors.

Throughout Hurricane Preparedness Week, and in preparation for all types of disasters that occur year-round, Convoy of Hope remains equipped to respond. With your help, we can provide hope in every storm.

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