Next Step for The Salvation Army Haiti

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

In light of the many disasters that have affected our communities in the past few months, it gives us hope to look to our friends in Haiti, who have persevered and overcome much as they continue to rebuild.

In Port-au-Prince, The Salvation Army is nearing the end of planning phase two for their Delmas 2 compound, the headquarters and facilities site that was mostly destroyed in the January 2010 earthquake.

Chilean architects from Habiterra have presented a scale model and plans for the reconstruction of the Delmas 2 compound. Key players from The Salvation Army, including the Divisional Commander and directors from College Verena and the clinic, and the director of KNH Haiti, who is funding a large part of the project, assembled for the presentation.

“It’s a very modern and practical school,” said Major Sylvaine Maegli, The Salvation Army’s College Verena Administrator.

The plan, now more developed, includes separate buildings for kindergarten, primary and secondary students, a centrally located administration building for control and accessibility and doors and hallways designed to provide access for handicapped children and adults. There are also plans for a small soccer field, storage for sports equipment, a library and cafeteria.

The proposal will need to undergo further revisions before getting final approval, but we’re all excited to see the great things they have planned. For more details about the plan, you can find the full story here.

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A New Beginning for The Salvation Army in Haiti

Monday, April 11, 2011

The Salvation Army Haiti has dedicated their new divisional headquarters! Nearly 15 months after the January 2010 earthquake damaged their former facility, it’s exciting to see this representation of resilience and strength.

The ceremony and ribbon cutting celebrated both what the Army means to Haiti and what the future holds for it and the communities it serves.

We have some photos from the Haiti headquarters dedication below. For the full album, click here.

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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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In Haiti, Clinic Prepares for Influx of Cholera Patients

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

A cholera outbreak in Haiti has been the cause of at least 259 deaths and thousands of more infections, with a handful of cases emerging in the capital city of Port-au-Prince.

While the infection and death rate seems to be stabilizing, officials and aid workers are focused on containing the disease so that it does not spread en masse in the highly populated area of Port-au-Prince.

Dr. Danielle Prosper leads The Salvation Army clinic there and is preparing should there be a possible influx of cholera patients.

The clinic is surrounded by an Internally Displaced Persons camp managed by The Salvation Army in partnership with Concern Worldwide and Viva Rio. The camp shelters 13,000 residents. While conditions are harsh, the camp does have a sufficient supply of safe drinking water, toilets, and a good drainage system.

For some months, classes have been conducted in the camp teaching women and children the importance of thorough hand washing and cooking of food since cholera is primarily spread through contact with dirty water.

The Salvation Army is communicating with Haitian health officials about the government’s recommended course of treatment for victims, as well as acquiring an adequate supply of vaccines for medical staff and response workers.

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Haiti: 6 Months Later

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Since responding to the massive earthquake that jarred Haiti six months ago, The Salvation Army continues work side by side the recovering communities. We have transitioned from focusing on the provision of immediate needs, including temporary shelter, food, water and medical aid, to providing for long-term needs that will help survivors get back to a level of normalcy in their lives.

And today, in an exciting step for many displaced Haitians, we’ve completed construction of 600 long-term intermediary housing shelters in Jacmel to help relocate those displaced by the earthquake back to their home communities.

Our Transitional Shelter Program has been a great way to empower Haitians during this reconstruction process. In a nation where more than 2/3 of the labor force is unemployed, more than 400 Haitians have been hired as carpenters and construction crew-members to assist in reconstruction efforts and be actively involved with reestablishing their communities.

The shelters house on average five people and last several years. With Haiti in the midst of its rainy season, their design will also enable them to withstand strong winds as well as drain water away from the structure, helping to reduce the spread of water-borne illnesses.

Now that hundreds of shelters have been built in Jacmel, The Salvation Army will work with Haitian government officials to plan the development of another 1,000-1,500 homes in the northern coastal community of Petit-Goâve, which was severely damaged by a strong earthquake aftershock in January.

We are excited by the steps being taken by Haitians and the The Salvation Army to help the country heal and emerge from this disaster stronger than before! As The Salvation Army’s Lt. Col. Dan Starrett stated, “These homes are the first steps of many in that direction.”

If you’d like to support our ongoing work in the country, you can give via www.salvationarmyusa.org, 1-800-SAL-ARMY and text messaging “HAITI” to 52000 with confirming “Yes.”

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Numana Reaches 20 Million Meals for Haiti

Monday, June 28, 2010

Hunger relief organization Numana, Inc. has packaged 20 MILLION MEALS for Haiti Disaster Relief, according to the organization’s official press announcement released Saturday. The latest milestone was reached this weekend as volunteers from across the Midwest banded together at Numana community events held in Fayettville, AR, Milwaukee, WI and Pratt, KS.

In their statement the relief organization said, “Numana would like to thank first of all the thousands of people who have shown up to give of their money, energy and time to help make this happen. Rick McNary, Founder and CEO said, “We knew that if we provided people with the opportunity, they would respond overwhelmingly, and they have.” The Salvation Army deserves a special thanks as they have helped facilitate nearly half of all the meals packaged.

Fayetteville’s ‘Razorback Relief’ packaged a record 1.4 million meals in 24 hours, breaking the previous record held by Kansas City of 1.2 million. Milwaukee produced an impressive 573,000 meals, and Pratt turned out 276,00!

Thank you to everyone for your helping hands that together have made an incredible difference in the lives of Haiti’s starving population. For more information about Numana and how to be involved in upcoming events, visit their website at www.numanainc.com. You can also follow them on Twitter for the latest information and statistics @NumanaInc.

And sure to visit The Salvation Army online at www.salvationarmyusa.org for news of our ongoing service, as well as on Facebook and Twitter.

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Volunteers Help Salvation Army Show Continuous Care for Haiti

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

News of Haiti’s ongoing recovery has slipped from the headlines, but the country’s need has not disappeared. Despite this drop in media attention, The Salvation Army and volunteers continue to devote countless man hours to serving earthquake survivors.

Just this past weekend hundreds of individuals from Kalamazoo, MI and the surrounding area gathered at an old Sam’s Club warehouse where they packaged 620,784 meals for Haiti over a period of two days. The event was hosted by hunger relief organization Numana, Inc. and The Salvation Army. A photo run by the Kalamazoo Gazette showed a grown man and a four year-old boy working together in the assembly-line style packing process. Though the picture may at first appear unremarkable, the sharp contrast of this seemingly mismatched pair captures the unique sense of unity and passion to help that bonds an otherwise diverse group of volunteers. Kalamazoo proved to have a great turn out of helping hands!

You would expect with it being more than five months following the earthquake, public interest would fade. But Numana hosts widely-attended meal packing events like the one in Kalamazoo every week across the country in order that The Salvation Army will have a continuous supply of food to distribute to Haitian survivors. Actually, three separate events will be taking place this weekend in Kansas, Wisconsin, and Arkansas, with Arkansas attempting to set a record of packing 2 million meals during a first-ever 24 consecutive hour event! It actually seems like the public’s desire to help is gaining steam.

Numana founder Rick McNary told the Kalamazoo Gazette that in the five months since the earthquake more than 18 million meals have been packaged for Haiti through Numana’s partnership with The Salvation Army and volunteers across the country!

The Salvation Army is incredibly thankful for the help of Numana and all the compassionate volunteers who continue to diligently give their time, efforts, and resources for those in need in Haiti, even after the overwhelming need no longer makes news headlines!

For more information about The Salvation Army in Kalamazoo, visit their website at www.tsakalamazoo.org or find them on Facebook.

You can also learn more about Numana, Inc. through their website www.numanainc.com.

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Phildelphia Eagles Doing the Most Good – Come Help Them!

Friday, May 21, 2010

We’ve been posting a lot recently about our partnering with hunger relief organization Numana, Inc. to host community meal packing events around the country for Haiti earthquake survivors. Yes, even four months after the disaster, much help is still needed and will continue to be needed for a long time.

Today, May 21, and tomorrow, May 22, volunteers will gather in Philadelphia at Drexel University to help The Salvation Army prepare 1 million meals. We we will ship and distribute the food to the 20,000 displaced Haitians that we are caring for in Port-au-Prince. We’re looking for 5,000 volunteers to make this possible, so if you want to get involved, register online at www.SalvationArmyPhiladelphia.org. We need your help!!

And we think it’s pretty cool that the Philadelphia Eagles are partnering with us for this event! This afternoon Eagles guard and Haiti native Max Jean-Gilles, Eagles linebacker Akeem Jordan and Eagles employees will be volunteering in our effort to provide nutritious meals to earthquake survivors.

Come out and lend a hand for a few hours while making a big difference in the lives of those in need. Here are some important links for more information including the event’s address and important FAQ:

* The Salvation Army Philadelphia’s Website -www.SalvationArmyPhiladelphia.org/millionmeals
* Facebook – SalvationArmyPhiladelphia
* Twitter – @SalArmyPhilly

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