Day 4: The Salvation Army Comforts Storm Survivors

Saturday, April 30, 2011

At least 340 people died in the violent tornadoes that swept across the southern US only days ago. Hundreds more are still missing. However, in the face of devastation, countless volunteers and donors have reached out to survivors in their time of greatest need.

The Salvation Army is currently meeting immediate needs and evaluating long-term recovery efforts in Alabama, Mississippi, Arkansas, Georgia, Virginia, Tennessee, and Kentucky. Additional teams are on standby and will be sent as needed.

Alabama & Mississippi – 40 EDS mobile feeding units, a shower trailer, and emotional/spiritual care teams are serving storm survivors in affected areas. Tens of thousands of meals and beverages have been distributed at multiple locations throughout the region. To learn more about relief efforts including current areas of service, please click here.

Arkansas– EDS teams are currently providing food, beverages, and emotional/spiritual care throughout Garland, Randolph, and Jackson Counties. Several areas are facing both tornado and flood damage. As of Friday evening, 3,195 meals and 3,058 drinks had been distributed.

Georgia – Feeding and emotional/spiritual care efforts continue throughout Spalding, Floyd, and Bartow counties. As of Saturday morning, EDS teams had distributed 2,628 meals in Spalding County, 580 in Floyd County, and 250 in Bartow County. Additionally, dozens of clean-up kits were given to survivors in need.

EDS teams from the Kentucky/Tennessee Division are providing food, beverages, and emotional/spiritual support at various locations in northwest Georgia including the hard-hit town of Ringgold.

Virginia – EDS teams from the Kentucky/Tennessee Division have been mobilized to meet material and spiritual needs of residents and determine next steps in service for affected communities.

Tennessee – Many locations across Tennessee are reporting moderate to severe tornado, water, and hail damage. EDS crews are offering food, beverages, and emotional/spiritual support in the following areas: Chattanooga, Cleveland, Murfreesboro, Union City, Clarksville, Greenville, and Memphis. In Cleveland alone, 2,650 hot meals and 400 food boxes were provided to residents in need. To read more about efforts in Tennessee, please click here.

Kentucky –Personnel continue to serve storm survivors in Paducah, Henderson, and Louisville through food distribution, emotional and spiritual care, and evaluation of long-term recovery needs. EDS leadership is also keeping a watchful eye on rising water levels and making preparations should a flood response be required. To learn more about Kentucky relief efforts, please click here.

Thank you for your continued support.

Are you looking to help?

The best way is to make a financial contribution since monetary donations allow disaster responders to immediately meet the specific needs of disaster survivors. You can do this by:

* Visiting www. salvationarmyusa.org and designating your gift “April 2011 Tornado Outbreak.”
* Calling 1-800-SAL-ARMY (1-800-725-2769) and designate “April 2011 Tornado Outbreak”
* Texting “GIVE” to 80888
* Sending a check to:

The Salvation Army Disaster Relief
P.O. Box 100339
Atlanta, GA 30384-0339
Designate “April 2011 Tornado Outbreak.”

At this point, in-kind donations are not being accepted outside the disaster area.

Volunteer inquiries can be made with your local Salvation Army.

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Help The Salvation Army Help Tornado Survivors

Friday, April 29, 2011

The Salvation Army has released a Public Service Announcement with information about how you can support our relief efforts for tornado survivors in the southeast. Please share this with your friends and family!

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Salvation Army’s Response to Tornadoes Continues to Grow

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Salvation Army Emergency Disaster Services (EDS) personnel continue to respond to tornado activity throughout Alabama and Mississippi.

In response, the Alabama-Louisiana-Mississippi (ALM) Division of The Salvation Army has mobilized 15 feeding units and a communications unit. They are providing food, drinks, and spiritual support to storm victims in Birmingham, Tuscaloosa, Guntersville, Molten, and Phil Campbell, Alabama. In Mississippi, disaster response teams are serving in Kemper County, Webster County, and Oxford.

Locations within AL and MS are reporting moderate to severe damage. As a result, Divisional Emergency Disaster Teams are being activated in various areas. Multiple EDS vehicles and teams are being positioned throughout the division for rapid response in areas where severe flooding is likely.

Tuscaloosa, AL

EDS teams from Mobile, Selma, and Columbus, MS have been activated to provide services to the Tuscaloosa area. Salvation Army Feeding units are being deployed to local affected areas prepared to serve 500 meals.

Birmingham, AL

The Salvation Army of Birmingham responded immediately to the hardest hit areas. 6 feeding units from Dothan and Birmingham, AL and Baton Rouge and Lake Charles, LA are being used to provide food and drinks in many neighborhoods in Greater Birmingham.

Guntersville, AL

Disaster units from Huntsville and Gadsden continue to serve storm victims. They are stationed at the Community Rec Center in Guntersville and the Gadsden Unit at Lowe’s, respectively.

Marion County, AL

The Laurel, MS feeding unit is responding to serve the North Alabama village of Phil Campbell and a team from Florence, AL is responding to serve the community of Hackleburg.

Oxford, MS

A Mobile Feeding unit from Jackson, MS has responded to serve residents food, drinks and pastoral care.

Webster County, MS

The Tupelo Canteen is in place and serving the community of Smithville, MS.

Kemper County, MS

The Salvation Army of Meridian has responded to serve in the east Mississippi County.

Additionally, The Salvation Army’s EDS Warehouse and Command Center in Jackson is being used to manage the widespread response across Alabama and Mississippi.

As damage reports are received, Salvation Army EDS personnel and mobile feeding units currently on standby in Tennessee, Kentucky, Georgia, Virginia, North and South Carolina, Maryland and West Virginia will be deployed.

For more information about supporting The Salvation Army’s disaster relief efforts, click here.

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Tornado Response: What We’re Doing and How You Can Help

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

[Tornado]

Note: For the latest updates, follow Salvation Army EDS on Twitter @salarmyEDS and on their website at disaster.salvationarmyusa.org.

Salvation Army Emergency Disaster Services (EDS) teams are responding to the destruction left by an outbreak of tornadoes that tore through the southeastern US.

According to news reports, more than 70 people have lost their lives, and Tuscaloosa, Alabama has suffered a great deal of damage. More storms are tracking through N. Alabama, N.W. Georgia, and S.E. Tennessee.

The Salvation Army already has teams providing food, drinks, and spiritual support to storm survivors in Tuscaloosa, Guntersville, and Lauderdale County, Alabama as well as Montpelier and Oxford, Mississippi. Mobile feeding units from the Kentucky-Tennessee Division (KTN) are serving victims in Chattanooga and Cleveland, Tennessee.

Additional Salvation Army EDS feeding units are currently in route to affected areas throughout Alabama, Mississippi, and Tennessee. Another 22 mobile feeding units including catering trucks, mobile kitchens, and a 20,000 meal per day full service field kitchen are on standby.

Financial donations are needed to help with Salvation Army disaster relief efforts. If you’d like to support storm survivors:

• Call 1-800-SAL-ARMY and designate “April 2011 Tornado Outbreak.”

• Text “GIVE” to 80888.

• Send checks to The Salvation Army Disaster Relief, P.O. Box 100339, Atlanta, GA 30384-0339. Please designate “April 2011 Tornado Outbreak.”

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Japan Update

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Commissioner Makoto Yoshida of The Salvation Army Japan provided us with an updated report on relief work taking place in the country.

General recovery efforts are progressing well – super markets are gradually reopening, 80-90% of gas stations in northern Japan have resumed business, and about 70% of roads are accessible. The Japanese government is significantly supporting the country’s relief efforts and providing much of the needed temporary housing.

However, he says the unresolved nuclear power station failure is causing uneasiness in the public. The search for missing people also remains daunting, as officials estimate there are 12,000 dead, 15,000 missing and 166,000 evacuees.

The Salvation Army Japan remains committed in their efforts, and we have brief updates from our dispersed disaster teams:

SENDAI: A team of 17 relief personnel and volunteers visited in March 23, distributing 1,130 meals and necessities, along with candy to the 83 children present. At that time, water and electricity supply was mostly restored, but gas is expected to take much longer. Supplies have been gradually reaching disaster areas, but camps have requested more tissues, diapers, and underwear. The Salvation Army believes that due to increased stability, food distribution may no longer be necessary in Sendai, and they’re exploring the possibility of visiting areas with greater need about 100 km north.

YABUKI-CHO: The Salvation Army Japan’s Major Kenji Fujii and Captain Kazuyuki Ishikawa met with the city’s mayor. They learned 52% of the area’s water has been restored, and they have plenty of food and drinking water. However, fuel and daily necessities are in short supply. The Salvation Army left with the town all the supplies they brought, but they have not received a request for additional help.

IWAKI CITY: Team members visited Iwaki City, which is just over 30km outside of the Fukushima Nuclear Power Station. On March 24 they distributed 500 hot meals and 6,000 bottles of water. However, as food and supplies are becoming more readily available, Iwaki City officials have not requested additional support from the Army.

KESENNUMA : Kesennuma lies 120 km north of Sendai along the coast line, and the city is badly damaged. The Salvation Army is sending two teams to distribute food and necessities April 12-15. They expect to give out 1,000 meals and 5,000 bottles of water, as well as candy for the 100 children in the area.

RIKUZEN-TAKADA : Rikuzen-Takada also lies on the coast, 30 km north-east from Kesennuma, and was badly damaged by the tsuname. A team is presently distributing hundreds of hot meals and water. They are looking into further ways they may assist.

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FedEx Lends Their Support to Japan Relief

Friday, April 1, 2011

FedEx has a long history of supporting survivors of natural disasters worldwide. They’ve even partnered with us during many of our local and international relief efforts.

We want to express our gratitude to them yet again, as FedEx has committed $1 million to support the Japan disaster relief work of several non-profit organizations, including $100,000 to The Salvation Army.

Their donation will come in the form of in-kind transportation, which will be a huge help to our work. It’s usually extremely expensive and inefficient to ship materials long distance when they can be bought locally to the disaster site. But there are some things, such as technologies, medical supplies, specialized items, or scarce materials, that are not readily available and must be transported from afar.

The Salvation Army in Japan is working diligently at several sites assisting survivors. Besides blankets, they have not yet requested additional materials from our Salvation Army World Service Office (SAWSO) here in the United States. If and when they do express additional needs over the course of rebuilding, we are prepared to respond quickly.

We are extremely grateful to FedEx, whose donation will go a long way in supporting Japan recovery.

To learn more about FedEx disaster relief efforts, visit news.fedex.com or about.fedex.com.

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Celebs Use Star Power to Support Salvation Army’s Japan Relief Work

Monday, March 28, 2011

“Ame ni Mo Makezu,” is one of Japan’s most famous poems. Roughly translated, the title means “don’t be defeated by the rain.” Its inspirational message encourages people to have hope and fight the world’s heartache by standing up for those in need.

Jackie Chan and dozens of Hong Kong singers and actors have adapted this poem into a new song, “Succumb Not to Sorrow,” which will be the theme of their upcoming Japan relief concert. Love Without Borders 3/11 Candelight Gala will be held on April 1 in Hong Kong with proceeds from the event going to The Salvation Army’s relief efforts.

But Jackie Chan isn’t the only celebrity using his star power to help Japan. We reported last week that Britney Spears donated 2 tickets to her Sunday performance taping for Good Morning America. California radio station Wild 94.9 decided to auction them off and donate the proceeds to The Salvation Army’s disaster efforts. We heard the winning bidder put up more than $1,000 for the tickets, which will go straight to supporting Japan!

For our latest Japan relief update, click here.

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Salvation Army in Japan Considers Long-Term Disaster Response

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Our emergency teams in Japan tell us disaster response is going well and that most areas in need of assistance have been reached.

They’re still providing necessities such as food and water in Sendai and also in Yabuki-cho, both of which are near Fukushima but outside the exclusion zone around the nuclear power plant. Yabuki-cho seems to be one of the few areas not yet reached by government help.

Some areas hit harder by the disaster are still not accessible, but our workers in Japan believe other NGO’s are also not being allowed into these parts. The exclusion zone around the Fukushima Daichi nuclear power plant is still in place and local reports say the situation is improving.

The Salvation Army in Korea has provided bottled water to Japan, and The Salvation Army World Services Organization (SAWSO) in the USA is organizing a delivery of blankets. They’ve also offered to send food packages if needed.

As many of you know, there has been a generous financial response to The Salvation Army’s Japan Disaster Appeal! Our Japan Territory believes funds already available in-country will cover the costs of the current response and that money raised from around the world will enable a medium to long-term response. The territory is considering building temporary accommodations and providing household goods and equipment, but these plans are still at the early stages.

Salvation Army in Japan Considers Long-Term Disaster Response

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A Japan Evacuee’s Perspective of Heartache and Hope

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

[Lis Bennett]
Lis Bennett (top right) poses with some of her Japanese students.

Lis Bennett is a young American who has been teaching English in Japan for 5 years. When the earthquake and tsunami struck, she lived only 25 miles away from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant that is now the focus of much international attention.

For security measures, she was evacuated yesterday by her employing organization to the United States as radiation fears increased. After spending many years pouring into the local community and lives of her students, it is difficult for her to suddenly leave behind these dear friends and a country she’s grown to love.

The Daily News out of New York ran an interview with Lis in which she discussed what it was like at the school when the earth started shaking and the state of Japan in the days after. You can read the article here.

[School]
The school where Lis taught.

A friend of The Salvation Army, Lis shared with us via email how these events have affected her personally:

“Since this started, there have been days of peace and days where there is NO peace. It’s been a real roller-coaster ride for my emotions… Since there became concerns that the radiation was reaching our area, our bosses (the family who takes care of us so well) made a very difficult decision to send our whole team home. Which is a relief in some ways, yet so heartbreaking in others. I know in my heart that it’s best for us to go, but my heart aches deeply for the people of Japan, leaving these friends that I love so dearly, while they are here amidst devastation.

The family who takes care of us and many of my friends will stay in their homes until the [government] tells them they can no longer live here…this is their home, the one they’ve spent their lives building up…my heart is breaking.

It’s humbling to realize that some things, no matter how hard we try, can never be on our control. But what a relief to let go and just fall into the loving arms of our heavenly father, who’s the one IN control…THAT’S when we find our rest, reassurance, comfort, and peace…I am so thankful to know that God will make a way where there seems to be none…especially for Japan.”

To learn more about how The Salvation Army is providing relief to Japan, including Fukushima evacuees, click here. Thank you for your continuous prayers for the people of Japan.

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Photos: Japan Relief

Monday, March 21, 2011

Thank you to everyone who has supported or is following our ongoing relief efforts in Japan. We’ve received more photos of the response work and have shared them below. Salvation Army International Headquarters also has them posted to their Flickr account here.

A Japanese Salvation Army emergency vehicle en route. Three Salvation Army emergency response teams were sent out from Tokyo to Sendai, Mito and towards the Fukushima area.

One of The Salvation Army Japan’s emergency canteen vehicles, preparing to serve up a fresh batch of hot noodles – very welcome in the cold temperatures.

The Salvation Army’s emergency canteen vehicles have been working hard, serving hot food and drinks to a thousand people at a time.

Poor weather did not deter the crowds, lining up patiently outside The Salvation Army’s corps (church) in Sendai.

The Salvation Army’s corps (church) in Sendai, near the epicentre of the earthquake, is also distributing essential supplies.

Relief supplies, comprising bottled water, biscuits, blankets, towels and diapers were prepared for distribution.

A Salvation Army kitchen in north-east Japan, with officers and members catering for some of the thousands who have been displaced by the earthquake and tsunami.

[Japan - SA Officer Distributing Food]
The Salvation Army’s officers and volunteers in Japan have been distributing packed lunches to evacuees and residents of earthquake-affected areas.

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