Tag: Disaster Response

Recovering from Harvey: The Mouton’s Story

On August 25, 2017 Hurricane Harvey struck the Texas Gulf Coast. Within hours of storm making landfall, Convoy of Hope’s Disaster Services team was on the ground distributing emergency supplies like food, water and hygiene items to survivors.

In an unprecedented manner, the storm lingered over Texas dropping trillions of gallons of water. According to officials with the state of Texas, around 800,000 homes were affected.

In the months following the hurricane, Convoy of Hope led volunteer teams in debris removal operations for homes that had been flooded. Currently, Convoy of Hope has transitioned into delivering building supplies to churches and long-term recovery groups. These organizations then distribute the supplies to affected families.

Jessie Mouton

One family affected by the storm was Jessie Mouton’s. Jessie, her husband and their two young sons — ages five and 18 months — live in Winnie, Texas. They had been in their new home less than a year before Hurricane Harvey hit.

“New baby, new house, flood — that was the timeline” Mouton says.

The family left their home on August 26, as they evacuated from the storm. Little did they know, they would not be able move back in until December 8.

The Mouton’s home flooded with more than 12 inches of water, forcing them to remove all of the drywall in their home. They estimate they lost about 75% of their belongings —including furniture, appliances and pictures.

While their home was being restored, the Mouton’s alternated between staying with family members, in a hotel and in a camper.

Mouton describes this process as being very confusing for her five-year-old son. She remembers him being very sad the first time he saw their home, saying it was “broken”. She agreed it was broken, but promised him they would put it back together.

With the help of their local church, the Mouton’s were able to receive the drywall they needed from Convoy of Hope. Mouton describes receiving the drywall as very “unexpected and overwhelming”.

As things are starting to get back to normal for the Mouton family, they recognize there is still work to do, saying they’re “all in until it’s all done”.

Learn more about Convoy of Hope’s response to Hurricane Harvey here!

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Disaster Services / Field Story

Hurricane Maria response update from Puerto Rico

It’s been six months since Hurricane Maria devastated Puerto Rico, and many are still struggling to recover. Convoy of Hope has since served more five million meals to survivors across the island — in addition to hygiene products, water filters and other immediate relief supplies. Convoy continues to provide long-term recovery.

Rebuilding Hope

One of the more than 95 locations across Puerto Rico that Convoy has served in response to the hurricane is Villa Esparanza, which means Village of Hope. An estimated 175 homes, roughly 80% of the village, were damaged or destroyed. Currently Convoy is helping rebuild and repair homes around the village.

With the assistance of Convoy’s full time staff, the organization’s first Disaster Community Care Team spent last week helping the village with rebuilding projects and repairs.

For more updates on Convoy’s Hurricane Maria response, click here.


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Disaster Services / News

The Anatomy of a Disaster Response

The forecast calls for a storm — It could be anything from a hurricane to a tornado or even floods. But the type of disaster doesn’t matter, because the Convoy of Hope team is prepared to jump into action no matter the situation.

What happens behind-the-scenes in Convoy of Hope’s Disaster Services department? All year long, no matter the season, our staff and lead volunteers are constantly training and preparing for the next response.

Of course, there are disasters that catch all of us off guard — like earthquakes or tsunamis — but more often than not, disasters are weather-related in some way and that means we can see them coming, so to speak.

It all starts in the COHOC

Whether it’s a hurricane forming offshore, severe weather and tornadoes being forecasted or extensive rainfall leading to flooding, these types of disasters put our team into motion before they even occur. When the probability of weather-related events start increasing, we activate the Convoy of Hope Operations Center or the “COHOC” as we call it. While the COHOC exists within the walls of our World Headquarters in Springfield, Mo., technology today now allows us to have a virtual COHOC wherever we go.

Once activated, we are scouring multiple sources of data to mine out the latest intel to help us shape our potential response. At the same time, we are readying the appropriate trucks, supplies, equipment and personnel to respond,  should the situation escalate.

When we hit the road

If a response is warranted, we hit the road. The COHOC continues to provide support to the team while en route by providing the latest intel on the situation and identifying potential landing spots.

Once the deployment team is in full response mode in the field, support continues from the COHOC by seeking out the latest intel, but also by communicating with other parts of the organization to provide two-way communications to and from the field. It is important for the COHOC to act as the central hub of communication for the overall response.

In addition to the COHOC, we have a Mobile Operations Center and once deployed, it acts as our base for field operations. The Mobile Operations Center and the COHOC stay in constant contact for the duration of the response through cellular and satellite communication devices.

Cleaning and Debriefing

Once the response comes to an end and the team returns home, there is a plethora of tasks including cleaning and maintenance of equipment and even debriefing to refine our processes for the next response. Once all the work is done and things are back in place, we’re ready to do it all over again.

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Disaster Services / Staff Spotlight

Staff Spotlight: Bringing hope in the darkest hour

Growing up in Portugal from the age of six through high school, Chris Dudley has truly lived an international life. After high school, Chris lived in many places like Minnesota, Florida, Brussels and Denmark. Now, as Convoy of Hope’s Director of International Disaster Response, Chris continues to travel, preparing for and responding to disasters all over the world.

What brought you to Convoy of Hope?

The guy who started Convoy of Hope Europe had been a missionary in Portugal when I lived there. He has known me since I was six years old. So, he asked if I wanted to come and work with him.

How often do you travel?

About once a month. It depends on the year and what’s going on in the world. I go to all of our focus countries to help get prepositioned disaster relief supplies in-country, work with our staff to try to be prepared and then respond to disasters.

What’s your favorite part of your job?

I get to eat all over the planet. I get to eat some of the strangest and grossest food at times, and some of the most delicious, amazing food at other times.

What’s the best thing you’ve eaten?

There’s nothing like Lebanese food. Lebanese food is absolutely amazing.

What are some of the biggest disasters you have been responded to? 

Haiti was the first really big one that I was a part of and I wasn’t even really on the disaster team at that point. I was still in Europe. So, I came over to represent the Europe office. And then, probably next to that, would be Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines, which was a monster of a storm. I spent A LOT of time in the Philippines after that. I thought about becoming a citizen because it just would’ve made my life easier, going in and out of the airport in Manila.

What do people not realize about disaster response?

People, I think, watch TV and they see very sensational images that kind of pull at their heart strings, which it should. But, I think people who have never lived through a disaster don’t understand the depth of how it impacts an individual. Disaster can have a lifetime effect on people. So by us going in and helping people in sort of their darkest hour, for me, is really fulfilling.

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Staff Spotlight

An Open Letter to Our Generous Friends and Supporters


It’s been an incredibly busy year for not only Convoy of Hope, but the entire world. We just want to take the time to thank everyone who donated to help us in our mission to feed the world.

A very special thanks to those who donated and kept donating with each need that arose. It was a particularly busy year for disasters, as one after another affected different areas of the world in such a short period of time. But you, our supporters, were there to help —donating faithfully to help those who needed it most.

With your help, we were able to serve millions of people throughout the world! That hope was so critical to so many. Thank you for taking the time to help others and donating whatever you could to help. Thank you also to those who could not donate, but helped us spread our message of hope. Every gift and act of kindness makes a difference!

We appreciate your partnership and hope you will join us to serve even more people in 2018.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Convoy of Hope

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Inspiration / Join The Convoy