Alexandria, VA (January 15, 2010) – An initial Salvation Army assessment team is on the ground in Haiti and en route to the capital city of Port Au Prince. Once there, the team will liaison with Salvation Army personnel already on site in Haiti, where the Army has had a presence since 1950. As with all such relief efforts, The Salvation Army’s initial focus will be to assess the immediate needs of the people affected by the earthquake, then utilize its resources to mobilize and ship food, water and other critical necessities to where they are most needed.
On the homefront, hundreds of volunteers will work through the weekend to prepare and package one million ready-to-eat meals at the El Dorado Convention Center in El Dorado, Kansas to support Salvation Army relief efforts in Haiti. The meals – which consist of rice, soy protein, freeze-dried vegetable and vitamins and can be cooked in boiling water – come courtesy of Numana Inc. (http://www.numanainc.com/). The million meals will total more than 150,000 pounds once boxed. No time-table has been set for the delivery of the meals, but The Salvation Army is currently coordinating with other agencies to get these supplies where they are needed. An additional 250,000 meals, also prepared by Numana Inc., are currently awaiting shipment from Des Moines, Iowa.
“We saw a devastating earthquake strike Haiti this week,” said Lt. Col. Dan Starrett, Executive Director of The Salvation Army World Services Office. “Now, donor generosity is striking back.”
The Salvation Army is also asking donors to assist relief efforts in a new way by texting “HAITI” to 52000 on their mobile phones. The text message will automatically provide a $10 donation to disaster relief efforts in Haiti. Donors can also give via www.salvationarmyusa.org, 1-800-SAL-ARMY and the mail at: The Salvation Army World Service Office, International Disaster Relief Fund, P.O. Box 630728, Baltimore, MD 21263-0728 with designation “Haiti Earthquake.” To date, The Salvation Army has raised $1.8 million to support ongoing disaster relief. The Salvation Army has committed more than $850,000 to support relief efforts in Haiti. The most pressing need right now is for monetary donations.
The Salvation Army operates schools, clinics, a hospital, feeding programs, children’s homes and church-related activities through some 60 Corps community centers across the country.
One Salvation Army facility, or compound, includes a home for more than 50 children; a school with a daily attendance of 1,500 children; a medical clinic caring for 150-200 people daily; and a church that on any typical Sunday welcomes nearly 1,000 people. The facility is less than 10 minutes from the National Palace and is in an area known as St. Martin that is home to predominantly poor living in the nation’s capital.
According to reports from Salvation Army staff in Port au Prince, no one in the compound was injured during the earthquake, but the children’s home, the clinic and church suffered major damage. Several smaller buildings, including residences, have collapsed completely.
The second compound that houses Salvation Army administrative offices is being used as an emergency operations center; damage was slight to this compound, according to Salvation Army reports from Haiti. The Bethel Clinic, The Salvation Army’s hospital in Fond-des-Negres (75 miles west of Port-au-Prince) reports some minor damage, but no injuries.