In the summer of 2014, a massive flood devastated Bosnia/Herzegovina. Over a million people were affected as infrastructure, businesses, homes, farms and crops were destroyed. Convoy of Hope Europe (COHEU) took immediate action, and partnering with teams from Sarajevo and Brussels, moved into the village of Maglaj to assist with recovery efforts. Maglaj is situated on the River Bosna and was completely submerged by the flood. Teams brought in food and cleaning supplies, as well as providing necessary supplies for reopening the local school. While the waters from the Bosna have long receded, the recovery continues. In addition to ongoing work in the school, doors have also opened to also assist with government collective housing for the socially disadvantaged. Zumra, a resident of the government housing, is a single mother and cancer survivor. She cleans houses to support her two sons, but there are not many who can afford to pay her after the flood ruined the local economy. When she cannot find work, she volunteers for the municipality on social projects. Last month her heater broke, and she had no means to replace it. Also in the building is another single mother named Nerminka. Nerminka’s 19 year old son Semir is mentally disabled and epileptic. Her husband abandoned them, and Nerminka was forced to quit her job as a hairdresser to take care of Semir. Semir was further traumatized by the flooding, and his condition continues to deteriorate. They receive a disability allowance from the government, but it is barely enough to survive. It is not enough to purchase the new bed needed for Semir, still sleeping on an old rusted iron bed and mattress that was damaged by the floods. Once COHEU became aware of these situations, Zumra received a wood stove to keep her sons warm this winter, and Semir received a new bed. The value of these items is far higher than their price to those who have lost everything, and we thank our partners for making it possible. Recovery after disasters of this magnitude take years, but every day doors continue to open to bring Hope to families affected by the flooding. Our commitment to the community of Maglaj will continue until the work is complete. To contribute to this project or projects like this: DONATE
Albania is recovering from a flood many consider to be the worst in living memory. Heavy snow and rain in January overwhelmed the river system causing severe flooding in the districts of Vlore, Fier, Gjirokaster, and Berat; all 60-100 miles south of Tirana, the country’s capital. The Albanian government declared a State of Emergency and police and army troops have been working to evacuate people and livestock from over 1,500 homes with boats and helicopters. The deluge submerged 35,000 acres, making entire villages inaccessible. Most of Southern Albania is without power and drinking water. Here is the good news: the State Emergency Response Group invited all organizations and churches to help, and we are racing through the open door! Convoy of Hope Europe has an established presence in Albania through multiple Adopt-A-Community programs, one of which happens to be in Fier. Our representatives are well-placed to spearhead the local relief effort as the waters begin to recede. They are coordinating with other Christian organizations and have already begun gathering and distributing blankets, drinking water, and basic food supplies to affected families. One of these families has four sons between the ages of four and eleven. One of the boys has been diagnosed with Thalassemia, a blood disorder requiring monthly trips to Tirana for transfusions. Their father is unemployed except for odd jobs, and tries to feed his family by catching fish in the river with a basic net. All six family members sleep in one room. Before the flood they lived in abject poverty. Now, even what little they had for bedding was destroyed by the water. Another mother was evacuated with her 17-month old triplet daughters when her house in Darzezë was completely submerged. All of her furniture in the house has been destroyed, and she must stay with relatives until it is safe to return home. These people are not used to being loved. For most Albanians, the only aid they will actually see is what our teams provide, and what they accept is laced with suspicion at what we will expect from them in return. They have been approached by “relief groups” whose “help” is dependent on voting a certain way in the country’s upcoming June elections. Can you imagine their reactions when we expect nothing in return? One of the local pastors on our Response Team met with the Albanian Director of State Social Services. She was happy and thankful for what help has been provided so far, but has asked Convoy of Hope Europe to also supply 100 beds and mattresses for the people in the most desperate conditions. One bed and mattress set will cost $80. To supply these 100 mattresses, to meet this need, we need you. If you would like to provide sleep for a family who has lost everything, please follow this link to our donations page, and designate your donation for the Albanian Relief Effort.
From June 15-22, 2014, Convoy of Hope Europe (COHEU) in partnership with Christian Center, Brussels, Belgium, took our second Adopt-A-Community trip to Sarajevo, Bosnia. The team returned to the community center continuing with renovations we helped start last year. This time, we focused on painting the walls and windows in the main meeting room, painting the hallway, and finally laying a new carpet, giving the first floor a fresh new look. Over the past 20 years, Bosnia has been struggling to recover from the devastating war between 1992-1995 which caused 13,000 casualties and left multiple generations in need of rebuilding lives and societies. Then in May 2014, Bosnia was one of the Balkan countries to be hit with record high flooding and landslides. COHEU and Brussels Christian Center traveled to Majlaj where flood waters rose to 3 meters (almost 10 feet) putting 8,150 flats and homes under water and stopping 700 businesses from operating. Clean-up crews are still clearing debris and restoring buildings and structures that were destroyed by the flood waters. Normally the streets would be full of children enjoying the summer break. However, a majority of them were sent away to family outside of the village in fear that the water would rise again. We got a chance to see first-hand some of the devastation we are working to relieve. Being able to make a personal connection with these families and individuals brought some much needed hope to this area. Thank you to Brussels Christian Center for your ongoing investment in this project, and to all of our partners helping us support the Balkan flood relief efforts. The story from our previous trip can be found here. To donate to this project, click here.
DECEMBER 3, 2013 | 2:00 PM SPRINGFIELD, MISSOURI // Convoy of Hope teams continue to distribute immediate relief to families in remote areas of the Philippines. Our teams in the field are reporting back that we are reaching many of the hardest hit areas with food and supplies. In addition to locally purchased food, water filtration units and other disaster relief supplies, we have distributed 566,182 meals to families reeling from Typhoon Haiyan. Some of the areas recently supplied include: Iloilo, Panay, Concepcion, Danao Danao Island, Talisay Island, Tapas, Jamindan, Daanbantayan, Bantayan Island, Carnaza Island, Mambusao, Altvas, Coron, Roxas City, Leutod Leutod, Bogo City, San Remegio, Sitio Leonor, Tagumpay, Sitio Pali, Barangay 6, Sitio Malbato and Barangay Bintuan. NOVEMBER 23, 2013 | 6:27 PM DAANBANTAYAN, PHILIPPINES // Despite damage to their own home, Victor and Grace have been able to help children and families with food and supplies from Convoy of Hope since the day the Typhoon hit. Hear their story firsthand and get a from-the-field update from Convoy of Hope president, Hal Donaldson in the video above. NOVEMBER 19, 2013 | 7:35 PM CEBU CITY, PHILIPPINES // Our five-hour trek to reach survivors of Typhoon Haiyan (Yolanda) on the completely devastated island of Malapascu begins in tiny mountain villages with stunning views of the green Cebu coastline. Winding up a two-lane foliage covered mountain road, we’re hauling water filtration units and a disaster response team in two diesel vans. The closer we come to the town of Daanbantayan, the fewer structures and trees remain standing. Picturesque views give way to mangled palm trees and roadside fires and children beg for food along the road. Our driver, Nelson, points out one destroyed school after the next. “I’ve lived here my whole life and never seen anything like this,” he says. About 45-minutes out we come over a mountain pass that reveals a birds-eye view of Typhoon Haiyan’s destruction. The scene is unfathomable. Homes, trees, schools and livelihoods are wrecked. A strong wind blowing through what’s left of the trees is an eerie reminder of the massive storm that hit the island a little more than a week earlier. We stop in Daanbantayan at a church that is home to one of Convoy of Hope’s children’s feeding locations where several children greet us with resilient smiles. Elizabeth, a worker here, tells Philippines country director Raul Manuel that their water filter is broken. Thankfully we’re able to provide a few replacements. Thousands of meals have been provided to the community from this location since the Typhoon and many more are planned. Pastor Victor, who oversees the church and programs, talks with Manuel about where to put a large water purification unit with the capacity to serve much of the surrounding area. From Daanbantayan we go by boat to the small island of Malapascua where diving-tourism and fishing are the livelihood for locals whose makeshift homes fill the interior of the island. The team offloads the water filters onto the beach where men are working to repair fishing boats. Convoy of Hope also has an ongoing children’s feeding location on this island and has been providing additional meals to families since the Typhoon. “The people here need help immediately,” says Manuel. “Many of their boats are damaged and with little chance of tourism in the near future, most of these families don’t know where their next meals are coming from.” Our disaster response teams in the Philippines continue to provide immediate relief across many of the worst hit provinces like Cebu, Leyte, Capiz and Iloilo. To date, hundreds of thousands of meals, as well as relief supplies and tents, have been provided by Convoy of Hope teams, volunteers and partners. Plans are in place for our teams to return to Daanbantayan and Malapascua with more meals in the coming days. November 14, 2013 | 6:30 PM SPRINGFIELD, MO // Reports of dehydration, water-borne illness and starvation have increased across the Philippines as Typhoon Haiyan survivors have become desperate for food and water. Well over 100 Convoy of Hope volunteers, staff and partners have already mobilized to distribute more than 100,000 meals across several provinces including Cebu, Mindoro, Bulacan, Tarlac and Iloilo. While distributing relief on Thursday in Iloilo residents from Bito-on, a tiny island, came ashore seeking food. “They told our team their village only has one boat left and they couldn’t go back empty-handed,” says Chris Dudley, a member of Convoy of Hope’s disaster response team. “Our team provided 150 kilos of rice, two boxes of noodles and a box of corned beef.” Convoy of Hope teams will carry out more relief efforts across the typhoon battered country on Friday. “Our top priority is to help communities and islands that have little to no existing aid,” says Karen Benson, senior director of disaster response for Convoy of Hope. “So far, food and clean water make up most of our distributions because that is what families clearly need.” In addition to food and water, Convoy of Hope also has water filtration units, diarrhea kits, dehydration kits, shoes and hygiene supplies on-hand to distribute as needed. Our teams are planning to reach hard-hit areas in the Leyte and Samar provinces on Friday and into the weekend. In preparation, a local school for the deaf will help pack meals and aid to be distributed. These next few days are vital as some families have been without adequate access to food or clean water for nearly a week. Children receive relief supplies from Convoy of Hope after Typhoon Haiyan left them without food and water. Convoy of Hope continues to pack supply kits for distribution in the Philippines each day. November 8, 2013 | 11:00 AM SPRINGFIELD, MO // Following one of the most powerful storms in recent history, thousands of families in the Philippines are suffering, have been displaced and need help. Convoy of Hope has teams and aid on the ground in the Philippines ready to help those suffering from Super Typhoon Haiyan. Our children's feeding initiative serves more than 20,000 children in the Philippines and as a result, four containers of food and supplies were already en route and will be available as needed. Haiyan (locally known as Yolanda) is being compared to a very strong Category 5 hurricane with sustained winds of up to 195 miles per hour. For reference, Hurricane Katrina reached sustained winds of 175 miles per hour. The team now in the Philippines most recently responded with 43,000 meals to the 7.1 earthquake that struck Bohol less than a month ago. In response to Super Typhoon Haiyan, Convoy of Hope will be distributing food, water filters, shoes and other supplies to survivors. November 7, 2013 | 4:30 PM SPRINGFIELD, MO // Convoy of Hope’s Global Disaster Response (GDR) Team is preparing relief supplies and sending assessment teams to travel to the Philippines as super typhoon Haiyan makes landfall. Staff in the Philippines have positioned disaster relief supplies in advance of the storm. Forecasters predict Haiyan to hit the Philippines as “among the most powerful storms witnessed anywhere in modern times.” “Food and supplies are on hand at our distribution center in Manila,” says Kary Kingsland, executive vice president of Global Initiatives for Convoy…