Pakistan Update: Survivors Wary of Returning to Damaged Homes, Salvation Army Continues to Prepare Full Response

Friday, August 6, 2010

The Salvation Army continues to respond to the dire situation in Pakistan as communities recover from the destructive floods. Our teams are assessing the damage and working with the government and locals to learn how we can be of greatest support.

A donkey cart plods through flooded streets.

Captain Washington Daniel, the Salvation Army’s District Officer for Islamabad, went to Peshawar to assess the situation and reported:

“ Most houses are damaged badly or have fallen down completely due to the flood water. River water came into many houses, rising to above six feet in some places. People are looking for shelter, going to relatives’ houses or to churches.

People are feeling hopeless. The Government and other non-government agencies (NGOs) have not properly visited them, helped them or prayed with them. They said that people from The Salvation Army are the first to visit and pray with them.

In some areas there is still standing water and people are afraid to go back to see their homes. Their houses and what they owned is mixed with mud. The buildings and houses are cracked and not suitable for living in.”

Salvation Army personnel pray with flood survivors.

The Salvation Army’s Divisional Commander from Islamabad sent the following update regarding their aid efforts:

“We met with the bishop of Peshawar’s team and they welcomed us, very thankful for The Salvation Army visit and our cooperation. In this meeting we discussed how we can manage and to start to help these people who have lost so much because of the flood.

They gave us a list of people in different areas in order to avoid duplication in distribution of assistance. I marked utensils (pots, pans, dishes) quilts, pillows, foam mattresses and gas cylinder burners that The Salvation Army will attempt to provide. We have identified 3000 families in need of assistance from the list we were given.

Our team also met with MPA Javid Prince and he showed his full support in all matter from government. For purchasing all goods, I propose we buy from Peshawar to save the transportation expense, because road conditions from Lahore to these areas are not good and for security, safety and for storage where we want to distribute we have no place.”

The first batch of relief aid to go up to the affected areas – essential goods bought with the initial funding – is being put together and will be sent as soon as it is ready to go.

If you’d like to support The Salvation Army’s relief efforts in Pakistan:

* visit our secure online donation page at https://secure.salvationarmy.org/.
* or mail a check or money to:

The Salvation Army World Service Office
International Disaster Relief Fund
PO Box 630728
Baltimore, MD 21263-0728
*Please note that your donation is for Pakistan*

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Salvation Army Responding to Double Disaster in Guatemala

Thursday, June 10, 2010

SALVATION Army emergency response teams in Guatemala are providing assistance after the country was hit by two major disasters within 10 days.

A state of emergency was declared after the eruption of the Pacaya Volcano – about 15 miles south of the capital, Guatemala City. A television journalist was killed in the eruption and the international airport had to be closed. Some 1,600 people were evacuated from the slopes of the volcano and two to three inches of ash built up on streets in some southern parts of the capital.

Dots mark the path of Tropical Storm Agatha

While the country was struggling to deal with the aftermath of the eruption, Tropical Storm Agatha moved across central America, bringing devastation on a huge scale. Of the 150 people known to have been killed in the region, more than 120 were from Guatemala. These numbers may rise.

Some communities were cut off by floods and mudslides, and the ash clean-up operation was badly affected. At one point a Salvation Army team was stranded after a landslide blocked the roads to a community where it was providing assistance.

Almost 112,000 people were evacuated from their homes across Guatemala and around 30,000 had to seek temporary accommodation in emergency shelters.

The local authorities set up a campaign to provide support and The Salvation Army played its part, delivering coffee and warm meals. Salvation Army officers (church ministers) coordinated the response and other Salvationists worked as volunteers.

The first assistance provided by The Salvation Army was at San Vicente, in response to the volcanic eruption. The number of people seeking help increased because of the storm and support is being given at shelters in Tierra Nueva.

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National Hurricane Preparedness Week

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

May 23 – May 29 has been designated National Hurricane Preparedness Week in anticipation of the 2010 hurricane season that begins June 1. For now, forecasters predict a more active storm season compared to last year’s generally mild one, but being informed and prepared can help diminish the damaging effects of hurricanes.

The National Hurricane Center (NHC) has set up a helpful page online about hurricane hazards, preparedness information, and practical ways to plan ahead. Click here or visit http://www.nhc.noaa.gov to learn more. Plus, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has a fun page for kids with lots of hurricane background information so that they can be knowledgeable and prepared as well.

And you have probably seen in the news or even been served by The Salvation Army as we provide needed relief following hurricanes and other disasters. In fact, The Salvation Army’s first major disaster response effort in the United States followed the devastating hurricane that destroyed Galveston, TX in 1900, so we have a long history of disaster relief! Our goal is to meet human need by providing material, physical, emotional, and spiritual comfort to survivors and first responders, which could come in the form of a hot meal, a temporary shelter, financial assistance, a shoulder to lean on, and many other things.

Hopefully the referenced links will be helpful as you prepare for hurricane season. We’ll keep you updated on important information and our efforts this season. Be sure to visit our website at www.salvationarmyusa.org, as well as our national Facebook and Twitter pages!

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