A month after Hurricane Fiona made landfall in Puerto Rico, Convoy of Hope continues to serve communities across the island. To date, teams have provided nearly 600,000 meals to residents.
Convoy hosted a distribution yesterday for families in Salinas, a town and municipality in southern Puerto Rico. Residents received flood buckets, bleach, and other cleaning supplies.
“We did a food distribution a few weeks back, and came back this week to do this specific distribution,” said Convoy’s Kevin Bernal. “The pastor told us that they are literally still scooping mud out of homes.”
There are several areas across Puerto Rico still without access to electricity and clean water. The distributions taking place are essential for these families.
“As we did distributions this last week, we had several families crying, asking for prayer, and telling us how this was the first kind of relief they’ve received since Fiona hit over a month ago,” said Kevin.
Convoy’s teams are planning three more distributions for the most affected areas of Puerto Rico this week. Several additional containers filled with food, water, generators, hygiene kits, cleaning supplies, and flood buckets will be unloaded and immediately distributed.
October 10, 2022 | 3:25 p.m.
Containers of relief supplies continue to arrive in Puerto Rico weeks after Hurricane Fiona devastated the island. Volunteers are working hard to prepare for distributions by stocking and organizing the warehouse with essentials. Convoy of Hope is supplying food, water, and hygiene kits to hard-hit communities.
One of these communities is Comerío, where more than 1,200 individuals received much-needed supplies at a distribution on Friday. This event proved vital for residents, as the community is still without power and water.
“We saw two military trucks bringing potable water to the town,” said Convoy’s Kevin Bernal. “It’s the only way they can get clean water, so the water bottles we distributed are a huge help.”
Many of the affected families in Comerío are single mothers. To prepare for their needs, teams packed boxes of diapers and child hygiene kits for the distribution. Additionally, a large percentage of older individuals and people with disabilities couldn’t leave their homes. Convoy’s partners loaded trucks for door-to-door deliveries to their houses in the mountains.
“The river that runs right through town … Hurricane Fiona caused [it] to overflow,” said Kevin. “The building we had the distribution in had about 3 feet of water in it. It’s uphill from the river, so you can imagine how high that water was.”
Teams have identified more than 300 households affected by extreme flooding, some of which saw more than 5 feet of water. These houses will receive flood buckets — provided through partnerships with Elevation Church and Home Depot — and bleach to start the cleanup and recovery process.
October 6, 2022 | 1:01 p.m.
Convoy of Hope teams are on their third week of relief distributions in Puerto Rico following Hurricane Fiona. Another distribution is set to take place tomorrow, October 7, in the community of Comerío.
Comerío was the last area to regain power and water after Hurricane Maria in 2017. Now, the community is without power and water once again. At the distribution, residents will receive food, water, hygiene kits, diapers, cleanup kits, laundry detergent, and paper products.
Convoy has served almost 15,000 individuals in Puerto Rico so far, distributing more than 182,000 meals and 9,000 gallons of water to 18 communities. In the days and months to come, Convoy of Hope is committed to expanding this reach as much as possible for as long as possible.
September 30, 2022 | 10:22 a.m.
Although Hurricane Fiona has faded out of many news cycles, the people of Puerto Rico continue to suffer in the aftermath. As of Wednesday, an estimated 233,000 homes and businesses still had not regained power. Several areas throughout the island are also without access to safe drinking water.
Convoy of Hope’s response to the storm has continued to accelerate since Fiona struck nearly two weeks ago. Teams are focusing on hard-hit communities, including Aracibo, Ponce, and Las Marias.
Local leaders have also been coming to Convoy of Hope’s warehouse where relief supplies are being stored to pick up supplies for their communities. Pastor Ivan Martinez traveled to Aricebo — a town that experienced severe landslides — to work alongside the mayor during a distribution.
Since the storm, residents of Aricebo have had to pump water from the river with a system leftover from Hurricane Maria (2017). The water itself pipes into the community center. However, because it’s unfiltered, Convoy is supplying water filters to the whole community.
In preparation for this week’s distributions, volunteers assembled more than thousands of food kits. These kits include vital resources, such as water filters, bottled water, rice, beans, meat, corn, tomato sauce, potatoes, and pasta. Convoy is also distributing LuminAID solar lanterns to areas without power.
“We’re doing distributions almost every day,” said Convoy of Hope’s Neemias Cortes. “At each distribution, hundreds of family kits are being distributed. We’re delivering 800 to 1,000 kits per event.”
September 26, 2022 | 11:41 a.m.
Eight days after Hurricane Fiona made landfall, more than 40% of Puerto Ricans still don’t have electricity. More than 15% still don’t have running water. Residents continue to dig amid the aftermath of the storm and subsequent flooding. Unfortunately, their struggles are being overlooked in a news cycle that includes other difficult issues, such as war, protests, and other natural disasters.
Despite the incredible need everywhere in the world, Convoy of Hope is committed to helping people like Pastors Migalia and Marcos for the long term.
Convoy has already distributed more than 58,500 meals and more than 4,500 gallons of water to survivors of Hurricane Fiona. As residents continue to rebuild and readjust post-Fiona, Convoy is there to help them create true transformation in their communities.
September 24, 2022 | 11:50 a.m.
Convoy of Hope team members and volunteers served 300 families in Salinas, Puerto Rico, yesterday. In just a few hours, they distributed family food kits (which contained rice, beans, cereal, nonperishable food items), hygiene kits, water, and baby care kits. More distributions are planned for the weekend, and Convoy’s long-term commitment to Puerto Rico is steadfast.
“It’s devastating to see how much damage Hurricane Fiona did to Puerto Rico,” said Convoy’s Kevin Bernal. “Homes that were flooded left families with absolutely nothing. No food, no water, no electricity. But the smiles and tears on people’s faces when they were coming through the distribution makes me feel honored to be a part of bringing hope to these families.”
Hurricane Fiona — which is technically now a post-tropical cyclone — still hasn’t dissipated. Now a Category 2 storm, it slammed into Nova Scotia today and knocked out power to hundreds of thousands of residents. Canada is warning those living in the storm’s path of damaging storm surges, heavy rain, and wind speeds between 50-68 mph.
September 23, 2022 | 11:24 a.m.
Convoy of Hope distributed food, water, and relief supplies to the community of Salinas, Puerto Rico, today. Salinas is located in one of the hardest-hit areas of the island. Locals have been working tirelessly to put their lives back together after Fiona. Convoy is honored to serve this community and many others like it in the aftermath of this devastating storm.
September 22, 2022 | 2:22 p.m.
Despite its low category rating when it struck Puerto Rico, Hurricane Fiona has caused catastrophic damage to parts of the island. In some communities, the flooding caused more destruction than Category 4 Hurricane Maria.
“These houses had about 6 feet of water in them at one point, and most things inside were destroyed,” said Convoy of Hope team member Clayton Gilligan. “And this was only about 20 minutes outside [the capital] San Juan.”
Convoy of Hope is working feverishly to get supplies to those who need them most. Small-scale distributions in the north have already begun. Larger scale distributions in southern Puerto Rico are scheduled for Friday and Saturday.
Fiona continues to march north through the Atlantic Ocean. The now-Category 4 storm — with clouds towering about 50,000 feet tall — will soon roar over Bermuda before eventually making landfall in Canada. Regardless of whether it is still classified as a low-level hurricane or a nontropical storm at that point, it could be one of the strongest storms to hit Newfoundland and Nova Scotia in modern records.
Hurricanes are always unpredictable, but Convoy of Hope is ready to respond despite the circumstances. Our teams are committed to helping those affected by Fiona as we also keep an eye on future storms forming in the Atlantic.
September 21, 2022 | 4:10 p.m.
Hurricane Fiona became a Category 4 storm today and is barreling toward Bermuda. Forecasts have it spiraling out into the Atlantic Ocean after that.
The greatest needs stemming from the storm are in Puerto Rico, and Convoy of Hope is committed to providing relief to survivors. Extreme flooding inundated entire towns, and 30 inches of rain fell in some parts of the island. Of the 3.2 million people who live in Puerto Rico, more than 1 million are still without power. Convoy team members are reporting that number could be much higher. Some estimate that power won’t be restored for days.
Right now, the greatest needs are clean drinking water, food, and cleaning supplies. To help ease the burden Puerto Ricans are feeling, the government has set up 18 “oases” across the island, where water trucks are supplying drinking water.
Convoy teams will move further south in the coming days to help locations hit the hardest by Fiona.
Corrected on September 22, 2022: A previous version of this article stated that only 500,000 people were without electricity.
September 20, 2022 | 12:15 p.m.
Hurricane Fiona has become a major hurricane. With sustained winds of 115 mph, it is officially a Category 3 storm. Weather experts expect Fiona to next pass near Grand Turk Island and spin further east into the Atlantic Ocean. It is not expected to make landfall along the U.S. East Coast.
Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic, however, are inundated with water. Storm surge is expected to raise water levels 1 to 3 feet in the Dominican Republic, and most of Puerto Rico is still without power. Low-lying areas have become rivers of water, and three-quarters of a million people do not have access to clean water.
Convoy of Hope received word that all team members in Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic are safe. Andy Caudle, who helps lead and facilitate Convoy’s Field Teams, was on the island when the hurricane struck. He said, “Being strategically located in the middle of the Caribbean, we’re able to respond easily to those places when disaster strikes.”
Additional team members are en route to Puerto Rico to assist with the distribution. With their help and through partnership, Convoy will get aid to people in Puerto Rico as quickly as possible.
September 19, 2022 | 8:33 a.m.
Hurricane Fiona made landfall in southern Puerto Rico on Sunday afternoon. The entire island — more than 3 million people — is without power. Fiona is now forecast to dump 12 to 16 inches of rain, with many spots receiving as much as 30 inches. Rivers continue to rise and overflow, and many communities are being evacuated.
Convoy of Hope is responding to the disaster with food, water, and relief supplies. Local teams and warehouses in Puerto Rico allow Convoy to pre-position supplies and respond quickly.
“Days before Hurricane Fiona unleashed record-breaking flooding with catastrophic results, Convoy of Hope‘s team members were busy preparing for impact,” said Convoy’s Ryan Grabill. “With product already on hand in Puerto Rico and the response to Hurricane Maria, unfortunately, still fresh in the minds of the team, we are working to distribute food and relief supplies across the impacted areas as soon as possible.”
Widespread power outages and massive flooding are reminiscent of what Puerto Rico encountered five years ago after Hurricane Maria. The Category 4 storm produced 40 inches of rainfall and caused the deaths of an estimated 2,975 people.
Convoy of Hope’s work in Puerto Rico began in earnest after that storm. And even though the full damage of Fiona remains to be seen, Convoy is committed to doing as much as we can for people in Puerto Rico for as long as we can.
September 18, 2022 | 10:43 a.m.
Hurricane Fiona, currently a Category 1 storm, has entered the Caribbean and is forecast to drop 12 to 16 inches of rain on Puerto Rico. The Dominican Republic is expected to receive 4 to 8 inches of rainfall before the storm strengthens into a Category 2 storm and spins off into the Atlantic Ocean. It could then affect the Bahamas, Turks and Caicos, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
Despite Hurricane Fiona’s slower winds, which define a hurricane’s category, the flooding and storm surge that could follow are much more dangerous to those who live in its path.
Convoy of Hope has a long history of responding to storms in the Caribbean and the Gulf of Mexico. Local teams and warehouses on several of the islands and Central American countries allow Convoy to pre-position food and supplies, and to respond quickly to the aftermath of natural disasters and humanitarian crises.
This is an ongoing story. More stories and updates will be posted here as they become available.