A prolonged drought in Puerto Rico has created severe water shortages for residents. Due to strict rationing, many are without regular running water. The situation was recently declared a state of emergency by Wanda Vázquez, the island’s governor.
Convoy of Hope’s International Disaster Services team has initiated a response in Puerto Rico. Containers full of water are shipping to the island, where our staff will distribute the product and get cases of water to families in need. Convoy of Hope’s team in Puerto Rico has been extremely active in recent months after several earthquakes caused millions of dollars in damage.
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Mark’s mother did her best to take good care of him as a baby, but life at the base of a city landfill in the Philippines created many obstacles — such as unclean water — and a need for hope.
When U.S.-based worker Nate Shuck met Mark and his family, he could see the boy had just a few days left to live. Realizing they had no access to clean water or nutritious food, he worked to connect community leaders and a local church to help the family. They walked alongside her and the family, helping them gain access to purified water, baby formula and food with the nutrition they needed. Soon, Mark gained strength and became healthy.
When 2013’s Typhoon Haiyan devastated much of their island, Convoy of Hope’s Disaster Services team immediately began serving those affected. In partnership with local churches and Shuck, the team provided food, clean water and shelter in communities around the island.
Convoy of Hope leaders quickly saw opportunity to launch a strategic Children’s Feeding Initiative on the island, serving with local partners that helped during the disaster response.
Mark now attends first grade at a school where we launched a daily feeding program. Knowing other small children continue to struggle with severe malnourishment, Convoy serves healthy meals in a newly built community center at least 3-4 times a week to Mark and many others. Our Field Teams also worked to provide a clean water system at the center and created a fascinating and sustainable aquaponics program at the church.
Mark is now full of life, thanks to people like Nate Shuck and our partners who support our work throughout the world.
Each day, we use water without thinking twice about where it’s coming from. We take showers, brush our teeth and drink it straight from the tap. That is a luxury that we have because of where we live. Oftentimes in our travels abroad, specifically during times of disaster, we see that many do not have that same luxury.
This week, we were surprised to see a water issue in our own backyard. Up until Wednesday, a mobile home park in Springfield, Mo. — home of our world distribution center — was without water. It had been shut off and more than 30 families were trying to get by without.
“You can’t go without water,” said Chet Hunter, director of the Springfield-Greene County Office of Emergency Management. Hunter reached out to local organizations on Tuesday, including Convoy of Hope, and received supplies less than 16 hours later.
“Working together gives us the ability to reach out to those in need and work seamlessly in a productive environment,” said Hunter. “And that allows us to respond immediately.”
Convoy of Hope delivered two pallets of water to residents for drinking, cooking and hygiene needs. Many families wondered how they were going to get by. Antonio Clay, father of three, said the delivery was a huge blessing. “We’re glad someone is thinking about us,” he said.
While Convoy of Hope responds to disasters all over the world, it’s equally important for us to take time to remember our neighbors during their time of need.
“We are so thankful to have an organization like Convoy of Hope that does great work around the world right here in Springfield to assist our residents,” says City Manager Greg Burris.
In 2014, Convoy of Hope responded to 22 disasters in the U.S. and internationally providing life-saving food, supplies and water.
“Water is essential,” says Chris Dudley, disaster services response director. “Everyone deserves the right to have access to clean water.”
If the Convoy of Hope logo has talked to you on social media it was probably me. I can honestly say it’s not just a job, it’s a passion. That aside, even the most passionate person can tire of staring at a computer screen. A few days after World Water Day I was nearing screen glare overload when I opened an email that blasted through the 3 o’clock funk like an espresso powered locomotive.
I started to read an email titled “5 Great iPhotos” from Karl and Ann, two of our field associates in Haiti. I’ve done my best to summarize their very welcomed email below.