Salvation Army Continues Massive Relief Operation in Haiti
Named “Lead Agency” by United Nations to Serve 20,000 Earthquake Survivors
Alexandria, VA (January 28, 2010) –The Salvation Army is in the midst of its largest international disaster response since the Indian Ocean Tsunami in 2005, providing immediate relief to Haiti following a major earthquake that struck the island on January 12. Teams of international disaster responders from The Salvation Army have joined more than 700 personnel permanently stationed in Haiti to deliver food, water, medicine and other aid supplies to people still suffering more than two weeks after the tragedy. As one of the largest social service organizations in Haiti, this week The Salvation Army was named by the United Nations (UN) as the “lead agency” responsible for well-being of an estimated 20,000 earthquake survivors. The organization will continue to serve those survivors while coordinating with other agencies and planning its long-term recovery for the country.
“The Salvation Army is committed to the people of Haiti for the long term,” said Major George Hood, National Community Relations Secretary, based in Alexandria, VA. “We are not even at the end of the beginning of this response effort, though we are making great strides to getting help to the point of need.”
As a lead agency, The Salvation Army will coordinate the relief efforts of several disaster response organizations for the community surrounding its main compound in the Saint Martin neighborhood in Port au Prince. This includes registering families so that appropriate aid supplies can be efficiently ordered and distributed, providing shelter that meets U.N. approved standards and establishing clean water sources, medical services and other basic necessities.
“It is critical that we establish a system with standards and accountability so that all of the dedicated NGOs can work together to quickly deliver the right supplies and services to the people who need them,” said Major Hood.
To date, The Salvation Army has distributed more than 350,000 meals, 18,000 gallons of water, hundreds of tents, tarps and flashlights, as well as baby items and medical supplies. Over the last two weeks The Salvation Army worked with the U.N.’s World Food Program to distribute the meals. It has also shipped more than 40 tons of aid to the country with the help of Atlanta-based shipping company UPS (NYSE:UPS). The organization has established staging areas in both Miami and Jamaica and is sending almost daily flights to Port au Prince and Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, where supplies were then trucked over-land into Haiti.
In addition, Salvation Army medical teams consisting of doctors, nurses, paramedics and other specialists have now given medical aid to more than 1,500 people. As teams continue to administer medical assistance, the doctors are seeing fewer life-threatening injuries. Medical teams have also delivered a number of babies in the weeks following the earthquake, raising the spirits of Haitians involved.
Also this week, The Salvation Army was able to partially re-open its elementary school at a temporary site on its compound in Port-au-Prince. In addition to daily classes, approximately 100 children aged three to six years will be provided basic nutrition and medical treatment in a secure environment at The Salvation Army’s compound.
“It is particularly difficult to see how this tragedy is affecting young children in Haiti,” said Major Hood. “Re-opening a school helps create a normal routine and stability for kids who have gone through so much.”
The Salvation Army set up a Haiti relief fund and is accepting monetary donations. Donors may contribute $10 via their phone bill by text messaging the word “HAITI” to 52000, and confirming the donation with the word, “Yes.” Donors can also give via www.salvationarmyusa.org, 1-800-SAL-ARMY and through the mail at: The Salvation Army World Service Office, International Disaster Relief Fund, P.O. Box 630728, Baltimore, MD 21263-0728 with designation “Haiti Earthquake.” To date, more than $8.3 million has been donated to The Salvation Army’s relief effort in Haiti.
In Haiti, The Salvation Army operates schools, clinics, a hospital, feeding programs, children's homes and church-related activities through some 60 Corps community centers across the country. One Salvation Army facility, or compound, includes a home for more than 50 children; a school with a daily attendance of 1,500 children; a medical clinic caring for 150-200 people daily; and a church that on any typical Sunday welcomes nearly 1,000 people. The facility is less than 10 minutes from the National Palace and is in an area known as St. Martin that is home to predominantly poor living in the nation’s capital.
For continued updates, please visit www.blog.salvationarmyusa.org.
About The Salvation Army
The Salvation Army, an evangelical part of the universal Christian church established in 1865, has been supporting those in need in His name without discrimination for 129 years in the United States. Nearly 30 million Americans receive assistance from The Salvation Army each year through the broadest array of social services that range from providing food for the hungry, relief for disaster victims, assistance for the disabled, outreach to the elderly and ill, clothing and shelter to the homeless and opportunities for underprivileged children. 82 cents of every dollar spent is used to support those services in 5,000 communities nationwide. For more information, go to www.salvationarmyusa.org.