The Salvation Army is actively serving flooding communities of the northeastern United States that have been inundated with torrential storms the past few weeks. New York City and Boston experienced their wettest March on record, and a state of emergency has been declared in Rhode Island, which is said to have seen its worst flooding in 100 years.
New Jersey was hit with two rounds of flooding, but The Salvation Army’s Emergency Disaster Services jumped in to serve thousands of meals to first responders, distribute more than 500 clean up kits, provide clothing, and offer shelter to evacuated families. Our officers are continuing to monitor areas threatened by rising rivers.
Reports indicate local dams were at risk of breach in northern New England, resulting in evacuations for several miles below the dams. Again, The Salvation Army provided help by supplying meals and beverages to 100 first responders, state police, and local and state agencies, with 2 mobile kitchens (canteens) deployed and 6 volunteers and an Emergency Disaster Services staff member on the scene.
In Massachusetts, Salvation Army volunteers worked with the National Guard filling sand bags and loading trucks.
Our team is also at work in southern New England, which includes part of Connecticut and Rhode Island, where they’re in communication with emergency management and serving meals at temporary shelters and through Salvation Army canteens.
To learn more about The Salvation Army’s disaster services and how you can be involved, visit our Eastern Territory’s website here.
The Washington Post discussed today the threat that Haiti’s upcoming rain and flood season poses to the 700,000 people still living in tent cities in Port-au-Prince. The article discussed the sever sanitary problems that could arise in the congested camps as a result of rain, saying:
Government officials and relief organizations fear that Port-au-Prince will turn into a massive sewer of bacteria and disease when rains hit with their characteristic unrelenting gusto, possibly followed by June hurricanes…
“With the rains come the risk of water-borne diseases, which create intestine bacteria and diarrhea, and diarrhea is deadly to children,” said Simon Ingram, a spokesman for UNICEF. The organization estimates that 250,000 children are displaced. In addition, health-care providers noted that the rain can also escalate malaria cases as mosquitoes reproduce near stagnant water.
Relief workers are racing against mother nature to register displaced individuals and families in order to assess need and plan for relocation before the skies begin to pour. The Salvation Army has been working to register Haitians early on in our relief efforts, and UPS donated use of their high-tech Trackpad technology to increase speed and efficiency of our registration process.
The Salvation Army has also submitted a proposal to USAID for funding to provide 10,000 transitional shelters for the 20,000 Haitians over whom we care for near our Port-au-Prince headquarters. These shelters will provide greater protection against the torrential rains and support a more sanitary environment for Haitians to live in. A more detailed description of the project proposal can be found on an earlier blog entry, and we will post any updates on this project as they become available.
For more information about our work in Haiti, please visit our national website at www.salvationarmyusa.org or follow us on Facebook and Twitter. You may also contribute to our ongoing Haiti relief efforts by donating online.