Tag: disaster services

Going the Distance: Convoy of Hope Commits to a Lasting Response

Convoy of Hope receives expressions of thanks from around the world. Rita Davenport’s email came with a copy of her mother’s obituary after Wilona Henry, 87, passed away from complications of COVID-19.

“Our windows came in today,” Rita said. “Mom would have been so excited to know they are now in.”

When Rita and Wilona’s home in Lake Charles, Louisiana, was devastated by Hurricanes Laura and Delta last August and October, Convoy of Hope responded, addressing short- and long-term community needs following both disasters.

Hurricane Laura had barely died down when Convoy of Hope’s Disaster Services team sent multiple vehicles to quickly create a distribution site at Glad Tidings Church in Lake Charles. By early September, the team had delivered more than 1.6 million pounds of disaster relief supplies to 19,000 families in 16 cities.

“When the storm was setting its bullseye on Lake Charles,” said Glad Tidings Pastor Paul Burke, “I didn’t even have to reach out to Convoy of Hope. Directors at Convoy of Hope were already reaching out to me. I can’t say thank you enough.”

Convoy’s immediate response was just the first step. By November, with Lake Charles and other communities forging ahead after both hurricanes, Convoy worked with The Home Depot Foundation to provide materials to repair devastated homes. Local contractors reduced their fees to assist. Volunteers from Christian Aid Ministries and the Fuller Center Disaster Rebuild Group provided labor.

Eventually, Rita and Wilona’s home joined more than 40 other homes (with additional projects still in transition at press time) that received some level of repair. This could include new roofs, windows, or other structural components. Major electrical appliances were also given to some families because post-hurricane power surges were destructive.

Lake Charles joins communities worldwide that have experienced Convoy of Hope’s rapid response and long-term presence. Some of those responses have expanded existing Convoy initiatives or have even become a factor in establishing new ones.

Within 48 hours of Haiti’s catastrophic earthquake in 2010, Convoy of Hope team members were on the ground evaluating the situation. Convoy already had a school-feeding plan in place for 13,000 Haitian children. By maximizing existing resources and warehouse space, and rallying faithful partners, Convoy made Haiti the staging ground for dramatically growing its recently established Children’s Feeding program. 

In time, an important key to that growth came from a new initiative — training Haitian farmers to radically increase their yields through modern agronomy strategies. 

In 2020, that dual approach to combating food insecurity translated into more than 387,000 children around the world being fed every school day and 15,351 participants being trained in agricultural practices. Convoy of Hope’s rapid response to Haiti’s crisis 11 years ago continues to find expression in its Children’s Feeding and Agriculture programs.

Similarly, Convoy of Hope hit the ground strategically in Ethiopia in 2010 to offer marginalized women an opportunity to attain financial security. Today, the Women’s Empowerment program is helping thousands of women and girls around the world. Many women in the program are now successful owners of their own local businesses.

Whether a crisis is personal or communal — the crippling impact of poverty or the devastation of a natural disaster — Convoy of Hope’s short- and long-term intervention means lives are being changed for the better.

“We provide hope,” says Gwen Johnson, Partner Services Director for Convoy of Hope Disaster Services. “And we never discount even small acts — every little thing helps people on their path to recovery.”

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Disaster Services

Experts Warn of Unanticipated Dangers This Hurricane Season

Hurricanes are categorized on a scale from 1 to 5. While Category 5 hurricanes may draw the most attention in headlines, those giant storms may not always pose the greatest threat.

In 2010, the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale became the official method for categorizing hurricanes. “It’s a great way to provide shorthand wind risk,” Michael Brennan, branch chief of the Hurricane Specialist Unit at the National Hurricane Center said in an interview with National Geographic.

However, recent data indicates more than 88% of hurricane-related fatalities occur because of factors other than wind, such as storm surge and electrical outages. For example, Hurricane Laura claimed 28 lives when it made landfall in the Gulf of Mexico in 2020. Nearly all of them occurred after the storm had already passed.

So, in some cases, the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale can then lure residents of hurricane-prone areas into a false sense of security. In the end, disaster preparedness is pivotal to keeping yourself and your household safe during hurricane season.

“You want to know what your risk is before a storm ever threatens you,” Michael said. “You have to do that analysis and find out if your house is safe, and if not, get somewhere safe.”

To help you stay safe in the event of a hurricane, Convoy of Hope has created a family preparedness guide. It can be found here.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 team as we respond in times of disaster, click here.

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Disaster Services

Hope Despite Volcanic Displacement

When Mount Nyiragongo erupted 12 miles north of Goma in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), it displaced hundreds of thousands of individuals. More than 245,000 still remain uprooted. Convoy of Hope is responding with provisions of hope.

Prior to recent events, it had been almost 20 years since Mount Nyiragongo last erupted. Most of Goma’s 2 million residents had grown accustomed to living close by — and in harmony with — the volcano.

Recent eruptions resulted in at least 32 fatalities. A staggering 140 earthquakes followed. Access to drinking water soon became an issue after the volcano damaged Goma’s reservoir and major pipelines.

“Mount Nyiragongo’s first eruption in 20 years forced 400,000 individuals to flee their homes, leaving many in desperate need of food, shelter, medicine, and clothing,” said Ryan Bowles of Convoy of Hope’s Disaster Services team.

Convoy is currently providing meals to people struggling with food insecurity in the aftermath of this disaster.

Thank you for supporting Convoy of Hope in providing relief to individuals in the DRC. To contribute to these and other disaster relief efforts, click here.

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Disaster Services
Hurricane Elsa (lower right) forms off the northern coast of South America. Hurricane Elsa (lower right) forms off the northern coast of South America.

One Month Into Hurricane Season, Convoy of Hope Stands Ready

Hurricane season is underway, and Convoy of Hope has all eyes on the seas. Convoy’s Disaster Services team stands ready to offer help and hope in every storm.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is predicting an active hurricane season this year. They expect to see 13 to 20 named storms. Six to 10 of those are expected to become hurricanes, which are classified as storms with winds of 74 mph or higher. Of those hurricanes, 3 to 5 could become a major hurricane with winds of 111 mph or higher.

Although the Atlantic hurricane season officially began on June 1, Hurricane Elsa — the first hurricane of the year — formed in the Atlantic early Friday morning. 

Whatever may come, Convoy of Hope is trained to respond and serve people in need during the aftermath of disaster.

“We have both our staff and lead volunteers around the nation trained and ready to go at a moment’s notice,” Stacy Lamb, Senior Director of Convoy of Hope’s Disaster Services team said.

NOAA spokesperson and meteorologist Dennis Feltgen says his team predicts the hurricane outlook with 70% confidence. The Atlantic hurricane season extends through November 30.

“Now is the time for communities along the coastline as well as inland to get prepared for the dangers that hurricanes can bring,” said Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo. “The experts at NOAA are poised to deliver lifesaving early warnings and forecasts to communities, which will also help minimize the economic impacts of storms.”

In the aftermath, Convoy of Hope is prepared to bring hope and rebuild lives. You are a big part in offering relief. To support our disaster response team, click here.

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Disaster Services