Alexandria, VA (January 18, 2010) – More than 700 Salvation Army workers permanently stationed in Haiti are being supported in their Earthquake disaster response efforts by US and International Salvation Army teams. Since the 7.0 Earthquake struck the island five days ago, The Salvation Army has set up a staging area in south Florida and arranged logistics on the ground in Port Au Prince. The supply line has already helped deliver skilled disaster relief workers, medical teams and supplies to those who have been affected. In the U.S., The Salvation Army is working with corporate partners and vendors to send bulk food, water, and other basic supplies to its teams in Haiti.
“This is a race against time to get people the food, water and shelter they need to just to survive,” said Lt. Col. Dan Starrett, Executive Director of The Salvation Army’s World Services office, based in Alexandria, VA. “Once we can get the situation stabilized, our local teams will be able to take on the long task of recovery and rebuilding lives.”
An initial Salvation Army assessment team arrived in Haiti on Friday, January 15, and has worked with the Haitian government and the U.S. military to gain clearance for relief flights to the airport in Port Au Prince. In addition, the team is working with the military and the United Nations for transportation, security and delivery of supplies. Package delivery company DHL has agreed to provide fuel for aircraft to make return flights from Port Au Prince.
On Sunday, January 17, a 14-person Salvation Army medical team, including eight doctors, arrived in Port Au Prince, with medical supplies. As soon as today, The Salvation Army is planning to send to Haiti several other skilled disaster response teams from across the United States and Canada. In addition, The Salvation Army is working with corporate partners and vendors to send bulk quantities of pre-packaged meals, bottled water, tents, lanterns and other supplies, along with several 15,000-gallon water purification units and multiple mobile hospitals.
This past weekend, more than 5,000 volunteers in El Dorado, Kansas helped pack one million meals for delivery to Haiti, courtesy of Numana Inc. (http://www.numanainc.com/). By next week, The Salvation Army expects to have a total of two million meals packed and delivered to Haiti. Dozens of local Salvation Army units already held benefits or are planning fundraisers for the relief effort. To date, more than $3.5 million has been raised.
“The American public has stepped up in a big way to support the people of Haiti and we want to thank everyone for their generosity,” said Lt. Col Starrett. “We have been awed by the number of people calling and reaching out to us wanting to help and we are praying for all those who are suffering.”
The Salvation Army set up a Haiti relief fund and is accepting monetary donations. Donors may contribute $10 via their phone bill by text messaging the word “HAITI” to 52000, and confirming the donation with the word, “Yes.” Donors can also give via www.salvationarmyusa.org, 1-800-SAL-ARMY and through 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.”
In Haiti, 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.