International support to bolster overstretched Mexican Salvationists
21 September 2017
Salvation Army workers in the United States and United Kingdom are being deployed to assist overstretched Salvationists in Mexico following yesterday’s earthquake in Mexico City, the country’s third major natural disaster in two weeks.
The 7.1-magnitude earthquake that struck the Mexican capital yesterday comes after the 8.1-magnitude quake that hit the Oaxaca region in the country’s south on 7 September and Hurricane Katia that made landfall in the state of Veracruz on the Gulf of Mexico on 9 September.
Territorial Commander, Colonel Ricardo Bouzigues, indicated that additional Salvation Army canteens, supplies and personnel are being sought from neighbouring USA. He has also been in contact with International Headquarters in London, which is poised to send its International Emergency Services team.
Colonel Bouzigues says there has been “tremendous damage” in and around Mexico City. More than 220 people are known to have lost their lives, including at least 22 children who died when their school collapsed.
Salvation Army facilities have been affected, with all territorial headquarters officers and cadets of the School for Officer Training having to be evacuated because of structural damage to buildings. Nevertheless, The Salvation Army is assisting communities most severely affected by the disaster and a needs assessment is underway.
The Salvation Army’s Irma Arellano Home in Mexico City was largely undamaged and has become a hub for The Salvation Army’s response. Officers, staff and volunteers have all been involved in the immediate response, with some of the residents actively participating in preparing sandwiches and other food packages for first responders, rescue teams and people who have had to leave their homes.
Headquarters and some corps buildings across the Mexico City metro area are being used as collection centres to receive donations such as food, water and blankets for subsequent distribution.
This latest emergency response comes as three teams of Salvation Army officers and volunteers are already assisting with emergency disaster responses after the Oaxaca earthquake and Hurricane Katia.
In Oaxaca, The Salvation Army’s emergency response is centred on the city of Juchitán, on the Chiapas coast and 100km from the epicentre of the quake. Two emergency canteens were mobilised to serve about 5000 people. The majority of these people had become instantly homeless because of the collapse of their houses.
The Salvation Army continues to support affected individuals and families, in cooperation with the government and partner agencies.
Meanwhile, in Veracruz a mobile canteen and two vans stocked with food, groceries and clothing were deployed in response to Hurricane Katia. Around 2000 people are being supported with emergency feeding programs, and emotional and spiritual counselling as required.
Report courtesy of International Headquarters