Spain – May 18, 2011 – The Salvation Army in Spain has stepped up its response to the earthquake that caused widespread destruction to the town of Lorca, Murcia, on 11 May. The team of seven people from Alicante Corps (Salvation Army church) which arrived in Lorca on 12 May was joined the next day by teams from Barcelona and Madrid Central Corps. The team from Barcelona took a van-load of food and clothing.

Lieutenant Luigi Muedas (corps officer, Alicante) was in the first team to reach Lorca, where contact was made with Corporal Ortiz, from the Spanish military, who was coordinating the relief effort.

The lieutenant says: “The city looked like there had been a war; there were fallen walls, military and firefighters everywhere. We have seen the faces of desolate people and a lot of tears.”

Captain Cristóbal Alvarez has been designated as The Salvation Army’s Command Headquarters Emergency Coordinator. She was part of another team that travelled to Lorca on Saturday 14 May to support the ongoing work.

Also on Saturday a smaller tremor hit the region, causing more damage. As a consequence, people are still afraid to enter their homes to pick up personal belongings. Government experts are working to assess the damaged buildings and put a mark on those which are uninhabitable.

The main need at this moment is for shelter, blankets and hot food. People have been receiving sandwiches for many days but Captain Jenniffer Beltrán (corps officer, Alicante, and wife of Lieutenant Muedas) was concerned that children in particular had not been receiving the nutrition they need. The Civil Coordinator for Emergency gave permission for The Salvation Army to distribute hot food in one of its tents and 400 families received soup, pasta and rice.

Personal hygiene items including toothbrushes, toothpaste, tissues and baby wipes, along with jars of baby food, were distributed on Sunday evening. This week The Salvation Army’s thrift store in Mallorca is sending a load of clothing which volunteers will help to distribute.