Haiti: One Year After the Earthquake

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

In Port-au-Prince today, The Salvation Army and Haitian citizens are gathering for a very special remembrance ceremony to mark the one-year anniversary of an earthquake the world will not soon forget.

The Salvation Army continues to work with the nation throughout the rebuilding process. To learn more about the ongoing efforts in the island nation, we caught up with Major Ron Busroe, Director of Haiti’s Recovery and Development Office. He and his wife first served in Haiti from 2001-2007. In response to the earthquake, they’ve been appointed to serve three more years.

Read on for a broad overview of The Salvation Army’s work and issues shaping those efforts.

For our latest statistics and program highlights, view our Haiti One Year Anniversary Fact Sheet at www.salvationarmyusa.org.

General Updates

The Salvation Army’s efforts in Haiti have progressed from the emergency response phase to the recovery and development phase. The Haiti Development and Recovery Office was established as of September 1 to oversee and guide these long-term recovery efforts, such as renovating schools and buildings as well as providing for the emotional and spiritual care of survivors.

In addition, the contract that established us as the “lead-agency” overseeing the temporary camp in the Delmas 2 neighborhood expired October 31. While The Salvation Army no longer manages the camp, our personnel remain involved and regularly meet with the camp committee. Much of our effort within this population goes toward cholera prevention.

The Salvation Army Haiti intends to move into a new Divisional Headquarters this month as their facility was destroyed in the earthquake. They also plan to rebuild their clinic this year, and perhaps even a warehouse, as storage space is a rare commodity in Haiti.

Housing and Permanent Shelter

It was estimated that around 20,000 displaced Haitians were living in the Delmas 2 neighborhood’s tent city near The Salvation Army’s main compound following the earthquake. Major Busroe estimates the number has dissipated now to somewhere just below 13,000 as people move out to the country. However, it’s been much more difficult for people wanting to start over within the city.

“Following the earthquake we’re seeing limited construction in city of Port-au-Prince. There’s some small construction, but few houses are being built. The rubble’s not removed so they can’t build, ” he explained, adding that the government’s weakened state and hurdles to verifying land ownership also inhibit progress. Reports indicate that after a year, less than 5% of the city’s rubble has been removed.

So Haitians’ only choices are to move and face the struggles of rural life (lack of access to clean water, medical services, business opportunities, education, and more) or continue to stay in their makeshift shelters.

Major Busroe says the Haitian government is encouraging NGO’s to build up resources within the rural communities in an effort to encourage people to relocate and help decongest the city. It’s a plan Major Busroe says The Salvation Army supports, though much of their service has already been focused on reaching the underserved outside the city even before the earthquake.

Cholera

While cholera is still a serious threat to the people of Haiti, the mortality rate is on the decline. In general, those under The Salvation Army’s care have fared relatively well against the outbreak, although 4 female students from one of our schools perished when the epidemic first struck.

The Salvation Army is aggressively working to educate against, prevent, and treat further infection. In addition to providing water filtration systems in key areas, Major Busroe reported they’re distributing soap, disinfectant, oral rehydration packets, and antibiotics within the temporary camp and to medical facilities. In addition, The Salvation Army hospital in Fond-de-Negres set up a cholera treatment center at the request of the government, which has been filled with patients. The hospital is looking to set up an alternate site.

Schools and Services

The Salvation Army runs 49 schools in Haiti with approx. 11,000 students enrolled. All but one of those schools, College Verena in Port-au-Prince, continue to operate following the earthquake. College Verena has been combined with another school and reconstruction efforts are expected to continue within the next year.

23 temporary classrooms have already been built and will officially open today as a part of the one-year remembrance ceremony. More than 1500 children will be able to attend classes there, broken up into a morning session for primary students and afternoon session for secondary students.

With the help of Numana, The Salvation Army hopes to one day serve meals in most of their rural schools. “We feel if we can provide a meal everyday at schools, that’s the best way of getting kids into school and getting people to leave the city to come to country,” said Major Busroe.

In addition to bolstering schools and school programs, The Salvation Army Haiti is looking into providing other long term services for the community in general, such as adolescent care, integrated family support, and vocational training, with the help of The Salvation Army in Canada, Switzerland, and other International Divisions.

For our latest statistics and program highlights, view our Haiti One Year Anniversary Fact Sheet at www.salvationarmyusa.org.

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International Disaster Relief Update

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Salvation Army in Indonesia Provides Help to Volcano Evacuees

Salvation Army teams in Indonesia continue to help those affected by the eruption of Mount Merapi in Java. At least 138 people are known to have been killed and more than 200,000 evacuated.

It’s been a dangerous and difficult time for our workers and those of other NGO’s. A team from the Salvation Army’s William Booth Hospital in the city of Semarang originally responded to the first eruption during the end of October and set up operations only 8 km from Mt. Merapi. But after another, more violent eruption on November 3, they and everyone else in the area had to be evacuated immediately with no time to recover tents, supplies, or resources.

Our team is now working at a safer distance (approx. 36 km front the volcano) at Tlogoadi Village Elementary School assisting 692 displaced people, including 140 children.

The circumstances are difficult in their makeshift shelter – there’s a lack of nutritious food, clean water for drinking and bathing, and not enough toilets (10 for 692 people). But The Salvation Army is providing as much support as possible with medical care and nutrient-rich food such as noodles, sardines, eggs, milk, and porridge. Local women from Tlogoadi are helping cook.

The Salvation Army Emergency team will continue working in the area until the volcano settles and people are allowed to return home.

Salvation Army Responds as Tomas Storms Across the Caribbean

The Salvation Army across the Caribbean is responding to damage caused by Tropical Storm Tomas. Some countries like Haiti experienced overall minimal damage. For others, it was a much different story.

In Barbados, Salvation Army Major Dewhurst Jonas described it as “the worst storm to hit…since Hurricane Janet in 1955.” On the north side of the island many homes and businesses suffered significant damage, along with some Salvation Army properties. Most homes were left without water or power, and those of some Salvationists were destroyed completely.

In response, The Salvation Army quickly provided those affected with hot meals, shelter and basic necessities, for which the Barbados government expressed their deep appreciation.

In St Lucia, where 14 lives were lost in the storm, the Army is providing relief assistance in cooperation with NEMO, the government’s National Emergency Measures Organization, to offer counseling and some daily feeding programs.

A local Salvation Army leader reported widespread damage across the island including destroyed homes, fallen trees, downed utility lines, flooding, and landslides.

In St Vincent The Salvation Army is offering assistance as needed, Jamaica appears to have faced little damage, and Haiti seems to have fared well where one report describes it as ‘business as usual’.

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Haiti/Hurricane Tomas Update

Monday, November 8, 2010

While the world held its breath as Hurricane Tomas hit Haiti this weekend, we’re thankful to report that the tent cities under The Salvation Army’s care in Port-au-Prince seem to have fared well amidst the storm.

According to a brief update from The Salvation Army’s Major Rae Doliber, it appeared to be “business as usual” when he visited the camps in the neighborhood of Delmas 2.

He added, “While the rains washing down the mountainside resulted in pooling water and debris, tents appear to be standing strong with a few tarps flapping in the breeze. People were setting up shop like nothing was going on.”

We’re happy that damage appears to be minimal in a community that has already lost so much. Please continue praying for Haitians and aid workers in the country, especially as cholera and waterborne diseases pose a significant threat to the population.

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International Relief Efforts

Monday, September 13, 2010

With so much disaster response taking place right now, we wanted to provide you with a quick update on some of The Salvation Army’s international relief efforts:

PAKISTAN FLOODS

It’s reported that more than 10 percent of the Pakistan’s population has been affected by the flooding. The Salvation Army is working in the provinces of Punjab, Sindh and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa where they continue to pass out household items such as bedding and cooking utensils.

The Salvation Army is preparing to distribute nearly 5,000 tents to families in the south of the country. This will begin in the days following the end of the Muslim festival of Ramadan.

The relief effort is quickening pace as the needed supplies are becoming more available. Plans are in place to help more than 16,000 families in the next month. So far almost 2,000 families have received goods from Salvation Army teams.

To read the full report from our International Headquarters, click here.

[Pakistan floods.]
Major Drew Ruthven of International Emergency Services (with back to camera) hears the story of the flood and the impact on one woman’s family. The family house was under 16′ of water.

INDONESIA VOLCANO ERUPTION

Salvation Army personnel in Indonesia are providing emergency assistance to those made homeless by the eruption of Mount Sinabung on the island of Sumatra. About 29,000 people living in the shadow of the volcano were evacuated.

The local Salvation Army Compassion in Action (CIA) team is working in the town of Kabanjahe and distributed 400 mats and 150 blankets to evacuated villagers. Some assistance has been provided by the government and NGOs but more is required.

Some of the evacuees have already returned home to their villages, but those who live closer to the volcano will stay in emergency shelters until it is safe for them to return.

The Salvation Army Compassion In Action team plans to work in Kabanjahe for the next few weeks.

To read the full report from our International Headquarters, click here.

Salvation Army team members give mattresses and blankets to evacuees.

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San Bruno Fire Update: Field Report Podcast and Relief Efforts

Monday, September 13, 2010

The Salvation Army’s Disaster Radio has released a new podcast about our efforts in response to the tragic San Bruno fire.

Community members and Salvation Army personnel Major Kelly Pontsler and Lt. Anthony Barnes discuss their experience as they jumped into action following the gas explosion.
Listen to the podcast here: Disaster Radio Field Report – San Bruno Gas Explosion

RELIEF EFFORTS UPDATE

IMMEDIATE ASSISTANCE
The Salvation Army is partnering with other relief organizations to provide aid, counseling, and practical immediate support to those families displaced by the fiery gas line explosion on September 9. At the Local Assistance Center (at the San Bruno Veterans Recreational Center), The Salvation Army is providing families with:

· Vouchers to Salvation Army Family Thrift Stores, to assist with the purchase of household items, clothing, or other resources as families begin to move into new housing.
· Target gift cards, giving families the ability to purchase the supplies they need
· Long distance phone cards
· The option to sign-up for FREE appointments with a Salvation Army Caseworker, for helpful assistance and additional counseling well into the future.

LONG TERM ASSISTANCE
After the smoke clears and families begin to think about long-term recovery and rebuilding, The Salvation Army will be available to provide counseling and caseworker services. Some of the services include rental assistance, utility assistance, clothing/furniture vouchers, food, and referrals. San Bruno Fire survivors seeking caseworker or counseling support can contact The Salvation Army of South San Francisco at 650-266-4591 to schedule an appointment or inquire about additional services.

DONATIONS TO ASSIST SURVIVORS
Thanks to the generosity of the San Bruno and greater Bay Area communities, The Salvation Army have been inundated with donations of clothing and blankets from the public. While clothing donations are always good, the following items are VERY helpful for rebuilding homes or just bringing comfort to those displaced:

· furniture (couches, tables, chairs, desks, dressers)
· small appliances (microwaves, small refrigerators, coffee machines, etc.),
· electronics (TVs, radios, clocks, DVD players, etc.)
· pictures, art
· shoes
· DVDs, videos, CDs
· Other misc. household goods (kitchenware, etc.)

While material donations are indeed helpful, financial gifts give a greater ability to provide the appropriate goods to families for rebuilding their homes and lives. 100% of all donations made to the Salvation Army San Bruno Fire Disaster Relief fund will go to help those affected by this catastrophe.

ONLINE: www.SalvationArmyUSA.org

PHONE: 1-800-Sal-Army (1-800-725-2769)

MAIL:
The Salvation Army
PO Box 80066
Prescott, AZ. 86304-8066

Be sure to designate donations for “San Bruno Fire Relief”

For more information and updates, visit The Salvation Army’s Golden State Division website at www.tsagoldenstate.org.

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Salvation Army on Stand By as Tropical Storm Hermine Makes Landfall

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Tropical storm Hermine blew through south and central Texas yesterday leaving thousands of homes without power and dropping record rainfall on several cities. Hermine was downgraded to a tropical depression Tuesday night and continues to move north.

Five Salvation Army mobile feeding units (canteens) across Texas were placed on standby in San Antonio, Corpus Christi, Harlingen, McAllen, and Kerrville and are prepped to provide emergency assistance.

The Salvation Army of Texas reports their canteen in Corpus Christi has been called in to action to provide clean up kits for areas affected by excessive flooding and food for first responders and storm victims.

The Salvation Army’s canteens can be deployed within minutes and can usually serve first responders and storm victims steadily for a 24-hour period before restocking.

The mobile feeding units, staff, and volunteers will remain on call for at least three days, as Salvation Army disaster response personnel monitor Hermine’s path and the effects on each community it moves through. A satellite communications van and other emergency disaster response staff and volunteers are also on call.

To stay updated on The Salvation Army’s Hermine response, follow our Emergency Disaster Services team on Twitter @SalArmyEDS.

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Wildfires Blazing Across Boulder, Colorado

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Video courtesy of Fox News

Wildfires that broke out Monday in Boulder, Colorado’s Fourmile Canyon continue to blaze, forcing thousands of residents to flee their homes and leaving 3,500 acres of land charred. About 100 fire fighters were on the scene yesterday battling the flames. The cause of the fire is unknown, and high winds have made it difficult to tame.

The Salvation Army has been called on to help serve first responders who are working to contain the disaster. Those first responders include fire fighters, law enforcement, Emergency Medical Technicians and the command and control staff that is coordinating the fire efforts at the command center. By providing food, drinks and emotional support, The Salvation Army provides much needed nourishment as these crews work around the clock.

The Salvation Army served more than 450 dinners last night to emergency personnel and 300 hearty breakfasts including omelets, hash browns, sausage patty, coffee, juice and fruit were served early this morning.

First responders will also be provided lunch and dinner today by The Salvation Army. The mobile kitchen and cold truck will remain on site as long as necessary to support this effort.

We certainly hope that the fires will be contained quickly so that more homes and buildings are not claimed by the blaze. Thankfully, there have been no reported fatalities as a result of the fire.

If you’d like to support The Salvation Army’s fire relief efforts, visit imsalvationarmy.org or call 1-800-SAL-ARMY and earmark the donation for Emergency Disaster Services.

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Salvation Army Moves into Second Phase of New Zealand Quake Recovery

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

The Salvation Army in New Zealand has reported moving into its second phase of relief since being struck by a 7.1 magnitude earthquake early Saturday morning.

They’ve put a fresh team in the city of Christchurch to assess and respond to the mid-term need of affected residents. Emergency Services staff and volunteers continue to provide emergency aid and care at the city’s welfare centers and Salvation Army centers. The Salvation Army team is also arranging storage for food and goods donated by companies.

With the damage and disruption caused to many Christchurch businesses, The Salvation Army expects a large number of workers won’t have an income from this week and their families will need support, according to Salvation Army spokesman Major Robbie Ross.

The Salvation Army reports that community spirit is strong in Canterbury and they’ve received strong support. New Zealand companies and banks have provided significant quantities of food and household items and funds. Westpac Bank in New Zealand has committed NZ$1 million to the Westpac Canterbury Care Fund, naming The Salvation Army as its senior partner. The Salvation Army will use some of the money to help those needing food, shelter and care, and put the rest towards those needing longer-term support. The public has also generously donated $34,000 to the earthquake appeal.

In setting out the logistics and protocols around the provision of aid, The Salvation Army in New Zealand is borrowing from the experience of the Australian Salvation Army during the 2009 bushfires.

To read The Salvation Army New Zealand’s updates on ongoing relief efforts, click HERE. (Additional reports were posted over the weekend.)

Thank you for your continuing prayers and support for New Zealand’s recovery!

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The Salvation Army Responds to New Zealand Earthquake

Saturday, September 4, 2010

The Salvation Army has initiated its emergency services in New Zealand after a 7.1 magnitude earthquake struck the South Island Saturday morning. It is believed to be the largest earthquake to strike New Zealand since 1931. Aftershocks are continuing.

While no fatalities have been reported, there have been several serious injuries and significant damage to infrastructure. A State of Emergency has been declared that is expected to be in place for several days.

Within hours of the disaster, The Salvation Army was feeding around 1000 people in at least two locations within the major city of Christchurch and was standing ready to set up further operations as requested, with residents in some areas advised to prepare for possible evacuation.

The Salvation Army has a formal national partnership with the Ministry of Civil Defence and local governments across the country. Its immediate responsibility is to provide catering support in the aftermath of natural disasters and any other services that Civil Defence authorities request.

One hundred people in the Army’s addiction and supportive accommodation centre in Addington, Christchurch, are without power, water and sewerage.

The Salvation Army’s Bramwell Booth centre in Temuka, around 146 km south of Christchurch, is home to men and women with intellectual disabilities. One building at the centre has structural damage following the earthquake and Civil Defence engineers have ordered its evacuation.

To read the full report, click HERE.

To donate to The Salvation Army in New Zealand’s disaster appeal, click HERE.

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Salvation Army Services Continue as Hurricane Earl Passes

Friday, September 3, 2010

The following reported was submitted by our Salvation Army Carolinas Division:

Along the North Carolina coast, residents, sun-seeking vacationers and first responders sought refuge from Hurricane Earl and were fed by The Salvation Army at emergency shelters in Beaufort, Carteret and Pamlico Counties. The Salvation Army has been on-site for meal service at these North Carolina coastal evacuation shelters since Thursday following requests of North Carolina Emergency Management officials and has served more than 250 individuals. It is expected that Salvation Army meal service to shelter evacuees has concluded with breakfast on Friday and that shelter closings will eliminate the need for additional feeding. In addition to fixed feeding at occupied shelters, the Salvation Army is prepared to respond locally to remote and roving feeding needs and requests across eastern and coastal North Carolina.

In support of meal services being delivered by units based in Morehead City, New Bern and Washington, Salvation Army service centers equipped with mobile kitchen unit canteens in Elizabeth City, Fayetteville, Greenville, Jacksonville, Kinston and Rocky Mount are on alert, monitoring the situation, coordinating with local officials and prepared to deploy as required or requested. Additional Salvation Army centers with 21 mobile kitchen unit canteens across the North and South Carolina Division are prepared and available for support, each with an initial capacity to serve approximately 1,500 meals over a 3 day period without re supply.

“Even as we were ready, on-site and alert for service, The Salvation Army is relieved and blessed that Hurricane Earl did not have a direct impact on North Carolina or the east coast and that there have been no reports of injuries. Still, we remain focused on response and service to evacuees and first responders. Our focus now is Salvation Army response to local needs in each community”, said Major Andrew Wiley, Area Commander for The Salvation Army’s response to Hurricane Earl.

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