Salvation Army in the eye of hurricane emergency relief
11 October 2016
The Salvation Army has been mobilising emergency food and shelter services in both Haiti and the south-eastern states of the USA in the aftermath of Hurricane Matthew, which has ravaged both countries over the past week.
In Haiti, The Salvation Army is working with disaster relief agencies to help thousands of people who have been forced from their homes by the hurricane, the strongest storm to hit the Caribbean in a decade, which struck on 4 October.
The full extent of the disaster is only now becoming clear. While the official death toll in Haiti is 400, the Reuters news service estimates it is closer to 900. Tens of thousands have lost their homes and are without shelter. Much of the country’s south is still unreachable because of ongoing strong winds and heavy rain, which has caused extensive damage to roads and other infrastructure. The continuing path of Hurricane Matthew up the US coast has also made it difficult to fly in supplies.
Salvation Army International Headquarters in London has provided an initial sum of US$20,000 (AU$26,356) to purchase basic food items for people who are living in temporary shelters or “safety zones”. The main location is in the Croix-des-Bouquets region of the capital Port-au-Prince, where 800 people, including 105 children, are being sheltered. Food is also being distributed throughout Port-au-Prince and in other southern towns, including Fonds-des-Negres, Aquin and Petit-Goâve.
In Port-au-Prince, The Salvation Army’s clinic has reopened and is offering treatment to people who have been injured.
The funds provided so far will enable The Salvation Army to give beneficiaries a hot meal every day for eight days, buying valuable time to fully assess the situation and discover the most urgent needs. Repairs will be needed at a large number of Salvation Army schools and other buildings that have been damaged, with several losing their roofs.
In the US, The Salvation Army is being mobilised to address the situation in the states of Florida, Georgia, South Carolina and North Carolina. Over the past four days, the hurricane has killed 18 people in the US and damaged an estimated 1.5 million houses and businesses.
Salvation Army disaster response teams have set up 74 mobile feeding units across across the four states. The hurricane has been downgraded from Category 5 to Category 1, however The Salvation Army is continuing to provide evacuation shelters and satellite communication units, while supporting state emergency operations and staffing numerous county emergency operations centres in the impacted states.
Report from Salvation Army International HQ