Tag: Disaster Recovery

Convoy of Hope Hosts Chainsaw Training for Volunteers

“As the saying goes, ‘I didn’t know what I didn’t know,’” Dan Cassidy said.

Convoy of Hope recently held a chainsaw training session for volunteers who are now ready to clean up debris, road hazards, and disaster zones. Dan was one of many who participated. He has led and engaged in several volunteer training sessions and has worked closely with Convoy over the years.

“You can’t help but be impressed by the people, processes, and equipment that are ready to hit the road on short notice,” Dan said. “All too often, we focus on tragedy rather than triumph.  Amazing work is done to help those in need and Convoy of Hope has the infrastructure in place to deploy resources very quickly.”

Every second counts when disaster strikes. That’s why Convoy of Hope stays prepared to respond to both domestic and international disasters. Sharpening skills and maintaining equipment ensures that Convoy can help those in need as quickly as possible.

“Preparation paves the way for timely assistance,” said Dan.

The volunteer training took place over two days. Participants spent time in the woods and in classrooms learning how to maintain their equipment, sharpen chainsaw blades, efficiently cut trees, and practice proper safety procedures. 

Dan explained that the training course was not easy, but it left him feeling prepared, well-educated, and inspired to help those in need. 

“Driving home following the course, I was hot and tired,” he said. “But it felt good to be a small part of such a great team.” 

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Disaster Services / Volunteering

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 Aiding Thousands After St. Vincent Volcano Eruption

“No one thought it would last this long,” said Kenyatta Lewis, a pastor who lives on the Turks and Caicos Islands. After growing up in St. Vincent, Lewis was devastated by the destruction following the recent eruption of La Soufrière.

Until this disaster, it had been 42 years since an eruption on St. Vincent in the Caribbean islands. La Soufrière — French for “sulfur outlet” — has erupted close to 30 subsequent times. One was so powerful that it launched sulphur onto four different continents.

“20,000 people have been displaced; about 7,000 of them went to government shelters at churches, community centers, and schools. The rest found shelter in private homes with other family members or friends. People were left with very little,” Lewis said of the aftermath.

But grief and despair soon turned into hope.

“Convoy of Hope, only 10 days after the first eruption, had enough food to feed 500 families for two weeks. Our typical family here has between three and four people,” Lewis said.

Lewis was equally excited that Convoy of Hope purchased some of the food at local food shops to help otherwise struggling businesses.

“We had rice, sugar, powdered milk, canned tuna, corned beef, cereal, [and] sardines. We were well-fed. And again, each household was given food for two weeks’ time,” said Lewis.

Six churches on the island helped with the distribution of food and bottled water. Lewis says that, more than a month after the eruption, Convoy of Hope has reached close to 4,000 people.

“Thank you for your contribution. Thank you for your generosity. My prayer is that everyone who has given will be blessed beyond measure,” Lewis said.

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Disaster Services / Program Updates