Convoy of Hope explains safety protocols for disaster relief after kidnappings in Haiti

Published: Oct. 19, 2021 at 9:21 PM CDT
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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (KY3) - Convoy of Hope doesn’t have team members in Haiti, except for the staff that lives there full-time.

The senior director of international disaster services, Ryan Grabill, says the organization researches places and areas to avoid when offering relief in countries. The safety of their staff is the number one priority.

“There are some places around the world where it’s of a greater concern and a lot more additional measures have to be put into place but we always rely on the knowledge of our local team members, local staff that knows the area very well to know what areas we would be able to go to and what areas we wouldn’t,” Grabill says.

Grabill says Haiti is one of those countries requiring extra planning and additional safety measures.

“A situation that was already bad years ago has become much more difficult with gang activity, the assassination of a president, COVID-19, the collapsing of what did exist of the economy at the time,” Grabill says. “It’s just created a really dangerous situation.”

Grabill says when team members were there after the earthquake a few months ago, safety protocols were put into place.

“(We) provide relief supplies through air support or through barge or through a boat system,” Grabill says. “A lot of those supplies have gone around the roads where we know there’s gang activity, where we know there’s a decent chance the gangs would potentially interact with delivery trucks.”

Convoy of Hope’s humanitarian intervention and stabilization director Chris Dudley has extensive experience in Haiti after traveling to the country about ten times. Dudley says his most recent relief trip there was about a month ago after the earthquake that devastated parts of the country.

“If you can imagine yourself in the poorest country in the hemisphere with very few options as far as how you will make your livelihood, how you will feed your family, all of those things,” Dudley says. “It leads to desperation and desperate people do desperate things.”

Because of the safety plans the organization has in place, Dudley says he felt comfortable while being there. However, Dudley says the strain in the country is hard to ignore.

“Haiti is one of those places where you can at times feel the tension in the air,” Dudley says.

He says because of the building tension, Convoy of Hope has stopped some of the short-term trips to the country.

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