The Salvation Army in Chile is focusing their tsunami relief response mainly on the communities of Dichato and Caleta Tumbes. Many locals here fled to high ground and watched as the tsunami destroyed their homes, possessions and livelihoods, and in some instances took the lives of their loved ones.
One woman lost her 92-year-old father who decided to stay in their house after trusting his son, a local fisherman, that the sea well would not reach the house. On any other night that would have been true – but not on this occasion.
Another fisherman explained that he didn’t think about the boat he left behind as he and his family fled, and now he doesn’t know how he’ll be able to afford to pay for a new one. His family is currently living with many others in tents and makeshift shelters in woods on high ground inland from their homes.
The tsunami destroyed the communities’ fishing fleets, and this time of year is the most important for sardine fishermen. The season lasts only three months, and many earn almost their entire annual income during this short period.
Salvation Army officers and volunteers have been working selflessly in these coastal communities to provide food, water and clothes, helping to clear and clean properties that are still standing, and offering spiritual support. In one camp volunteers are running a children’s club to try and assist in their recovery.
The secretary of the fishermen’s cooperative in Dichato said: ‘The young men may be able to retrain to do something else but many of us are too old. All we know is fishing – it is our livelihood, it is our life.’
In addition to providing food, water, clothes, and spiritual support, The Salvation Army in Chile is considering raising donations for the purpose of replacing the boats that were swept away.
The secretary of the fishermen’s cooperative in Caleta Tumbes thanked The Salvation Army for all it was doing in the community and appealed for it to continue to give assistance.
If you would like to support The Salvation Army’s ongoing relief efforts in Chile, please visit our online donation page.
The Salvation Army’s Major Laurie Robertson reports that recommendations coming out of a Salvation Army international strategy conference held in London confirm that The Salvation Army will be heavily and closely involved in rebuilding Haiti well past the conclusion of the current emergency situation caused by January’s massive earthquake.
The conference was attended by a delegation from The Salvation Army’s Caribbean Territory, representatives from 10 Salvation Army territories involved in the relief and rebuilding process, personnel from The Salvation Army USA National Headquarters, Salvation Army World Service Office (SAWSO), and The Salvation Army International Headquarters.
The emergency phase for The Salvation Army in Haiti is expected to last for another six to nine months. During this time The Salvation Army will continue to care for 20,000 displaced people who are living in cramped camp conditions on a soccer field in Port-au-Prince. Emergency assistance will also be ongoing for those who were adversely affected in Jacmel and Petit Goave.
One of the urgent challenges for The Salvation Army is the relocation of the 20,000 people from its emergency camp to transitional housing. It is hoped this housing will be constructed before the end of the year.
The Salvation Army in Port-au-Prince provides essential services to one of the poorest areas in Haiti and conference delegates strongly expressed their belief that The Salvation Army’s facilities needed to be rebuilt as quickly as possible. Most of its buildings have been so badly damaged that they will need to be demolished.
During the next few months prioritization of the transitional and long-term projects will take place, applications for further funding will be processed and some projects commenced while emergency relief service continues.
One month following the destructive magnitude 8.8 earthquake and tsunami that struck Chile, The Salvation Army continues distributing help throughout the country. More than 15,000 people have been assisted and 14,000 rations of food provided to individuals and families. Some 350 volunteers have given their help.
A campaign called ‘Strong Arms Around Chile’ has been set up to help collect donations and goods that can be delivered to the neediest Chileans.
In the area around the capital, Santiago, coffee, hot meals and other services continue to be offered.
The south of the country, particularly coastal regions, was most affected by the disaster and this area is where The Salvation Army is focusing its efforts.
Four hundred baskets with basic necessities have been given out in Caleta Tumbes, which was affected by both the quake and tsunami. Salvation Army workers are helping to clear debris in this area. The Salvation Army is also distributing family baskets with basic necessities such as food, water, hygiene products, and clothes to families who are sleeping outdoors since they no longer have homes.
In Concepción, around the epicentre of the earthquake, family baskets were distributed at a camp in the centre of the city.
In nearby Hualpén, a well on the grounds of Hualpencillo Corps (church) is providing water to the neighbourhood.
The Salvation Army’s Central Division in Chile sent 20 tons of food, clothing and water to the cities of Concepción and Hualpén, including some goods purchased with funds received from overseas.
The supplies were organized in a reception centre at Concepción Corps. The corps officers went to the affected zones to see where the aid was most needed and the community of Dichato was identified. Unfortunately, because of contamination, the military was not allowing people into the community.
Eventually a Salvation Army team was allowed to visit the New Dawn camp in Dichato, which is made up of 180 families – approximately 850 people. The team also visited Villa los Sauces, which has a number of temporary settlements, and the area of Coliumo, where many people are living in small makeshift camps along the side of the road.
In each of these places goods were given out, including food, water and some tents. Three volunteers, rotating every few days, are living in a tent in the New Dawn camp and there are plans to set up a community kitchen. Salvationists and volunteers have helped clear debris and have lifted people’s spirits with times of worship.
In an emergency services coordination meeting, it was decided that Concepción Corps would take responsibility for people in Dichato, Coliumo, Lota, Coronel and Hualqui. The corps at Hualpén will visit and document the communities of Las Salinas, Lenga, Talcahuano and Caleta Tumbes. Some of these areas are dealing with devastation from both the earthquake and the tsunami.
Major Raelton Gibbs (International Emergency Services) is now in Chile to assist and advise the local Salvation Army teams.
The Salvation Army has been shown great appreciation by those receiving help. Many are simply happy still to be alive. The Chilean Salvation Army continues to work and aid those in need by providing not only material necessities but also spiritual comfort.
To help support The Salvation Army’s ongoing relief efforts in Chile, visit our online donations page.
Espwa means “hope” in Creole, the native language of Haiti. This idea of hope has been a general theme and desire for both citizens and aid workers who are joining together to rebuild Haiti after January’s disastrous earthquake.
From this shared goal has formed the Espwa Project, a labor of love and an endeavor to bring hope to Haiti by wearing it. When you give to The Salvation Army’s Espwa Project, a way to support our ongoing relief efforts in Haiti, you will receive a specially designed t-shirt with a message of hope.
As the Espwa website points out, “Hope, like laughter, is contagious. Each time you wear your [espwa] t-shirt, you spread its message of hope.”
Visit The Salvation Army Haiti Division’s Espwa Project wesbite for information.