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Still Standing - 12 Months On
Download a copy of the Still Standing - 12 Month Disaster Report. The report looks at The Salvation Army’s ongoing response to the 2011 Queensland floods and Cyclone Yasi over the past 12 months.
April 2012 - General Linda Bond's Easter message
Were you there?
It was my first Sunday as the new minister at a church. When the service came to an end, I was told that one family in attendance was facing the impending death of their 14-year-old daughter. She had been present with her parents that morning. This family undoubtedly had to be a priority to visit. And so a journey lasting a few weeks began, with daily visits and the privilege of walking alongside a family in their darkest hour.
On a very hot, sticky Sunday afternoon in August, I was to visit
Sherry for the last time. She lay on her bed agonising with the heat,
the discomfort, the thirst and the pain. Her mother could only look on
helplessly. Her dad sat beside her, raising her in his arms every few
minutes to give her more ice to crunch, her only relief from the raging
thirst. She was dying. We knew we were sharing her final hours. The
window of her bedroom was open in the hope of getting some air. But what
was coming through the window was the sound of children playing. The
joyful shouts and laughter were in stark contrast to the moaning of a
dying child. Somehow the sadness was all consuming and anything other
than grief seemed so inappropriate. But beyond those bedroom walls life
went on as usual.
It strikes me that we are so often unaware of the suffering of others. We hear of a trial and the news reports give the particular date of when a child went missing. We hear about the anguish of the parents, the details of the horrible crime, the months that went by before the perpetrator was caught. Being reminded of the date the crime happened may trigger a reflection: Where was I on that day? So often we have a happy memory. But then we realise that while life went on for us – that same day had ended tragically for others.
And so it did many years before when Jesus faced the most agonising crucifixion experience. An Easter song asks the probing question, ‘Were you there when they crucified my Lord?’ More than 2,000 years later, we have to answer ‘no’ if we are thinking in terms of time. But let’s go there in our imagination.
In his prayer in the garden of Gethsemane, Jesus confesses, ‘my soul is deeply grieved to the point of death’ (Mark 14:34).
He sweats drops of blood. His soul is in agony. He is tormented, but
life goes on. The disciples fall asleep. During his arrest, his trial,
his whipping, there is a suffering beyond the physical. The grief of
aloneness is real. Where are his companions? Are they there? Yes, they
are, at least they are in the vicinity. But Judas has orchestrated a
betrayal, Peter is denying any knowledge of him and the other friends
can’t be seen for dust.
And for others in Jerusalem, life went on, business as usual. There was no awareness that beyond their patch, outside the city, the Son of God was to be crucified. It is the most important day in history but they are not ‘there’. Even Simon of Cyrene had other plans. He was 'passing by on his way in from the country' when he was stopped and forced to carry the Cross and ‘be there’ (Mark 15:21-22).
To be honest, even if time or geography were not factors, few of us want to enter into the suffering of others. We certainly shrink from suffering ourselves. Yet once we have experienced it, we are never the same again. In some ways, we share in the fellowship of his sufferings (Philippians 3:10) and enter into a knowledge of Christ we never had before. For Christians, the suffering of Jesus on every level – spiritual, emotional, social and physical, speaks to us in a deeper way. It tells us that he understands. He is not distant, remote, or unfeeling. He is ‘there with us’. He knows pain. He knows rejection. He knows humiliation. He knows grief.
However, the Easter season calls us to the deepest level of reflection regarding his suffering. We have to understand the purpose for it. It means we must go beyond contemplating the pain endured. We have to face ourselves, our part in his suffering. A songwriter says, ‘Sometimes it causes me to tremble, tremble, tremble’. Whether we realise it or not, we were there when they crucified our Lord. With all our sin, with all our shortcomings, with our rebellion, we were there. And he took our sin upon himself. He bore its awful penalty. He opened up the way for us to come to the Father, reconciled, redeemed and restored. Now we share his life in a new way. Because of his atoning sacrifice, we are truly never the same again.
This is not a bad news story. This is the good news, the best news! This is a love story! This is the demonstration of the love of God, said the apostle Paul, ‘in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us’ (Romans 5:8). The Cross is not the end. It is the beginning and the Resurrection of Jesus announces it in most dramatic fashion. Jesus is alive! This is a story of God with us and God for us.
The amazing consequence of this is our salvation. But it also calls
us to seek the salvation of the world. We are a people who share his
heart for others, their suffering, and even their apathy, and most
certainly their need of a Saviour. We serve. We intercede. We seek
justice. We tell the Good News. We believe in transformation for we are
also a resurrection people. We share his hope for the world.
March 2012 - Sth NSW & ACT Flood Update
Albury Salvation Army Emergency Services (SAES) team is continuing to make and package meals that are being delivered by helicopter to
the isolated areas of Urana and Boree Creek that flooded earlier this week.
As many Wagga Wagga residents return home Salvation Army Lieutenant Ian Shelley says welfare is now needed, “people are coming in with just the clothes on the back, needing a change of clothes and other essentials. We’ve been providing this assistance from The Salvation Army centre and the recovery centre in town.”
SAES teams are providing lunch and dinner for evacuees and workers from the recovery centre that has been set up for North Wagga Wagga residents still unable to return home.
An SAES team was flown from Sydney to the isolated town of Griffith last night. The team is working with local Salvation Army personnel and other organisations to distribute food vouchers, food donations and other essentials to flood victims.
“We are waiting for the water to drop or rise,” says Griffith Salvation Army Welfare Centre Manager, Peter Woodward,” at the moment we are able to give out food donations and vouchers that have come from within the Griffith community.
“The community involvement and support here is above and beyond.”
South NSW & ACT SAES Coordinator Bruce Smith says flood waters are expected to inundate Narrandera in the next couple of days, “We’ve got teams on standy in nearby Leeton should Narrandera flood.”
Floodwaters might be receding in most parts of NSW but many residents are still unable to return home.
Wagga Wagga Salvation Army’s Lieutenant Ian Shelley says although many residents in the north may not be able to return to their homes for weeks, “The community is in high spirits. That’s thing about Wagga residents, they know how to stay positive no matter what happens.”
Around 500 meals were served at each meal time across Wagga’s four evacuation centres yesterday and Lieutenant Shelley says about 350 people spent the night in one of the four centres.
At 2pm today three of the four evacuation centres in Wagga were closed. The Senior’s Club evacuation centre remains open.
SAES Coordinator for South NSW and ACT Bruce Smith says, the SAES team in Albury put together 75 food parcels that were airlifted to isolated properties in Boree Creek, in the West Wyalong area, yesterday afternoon.
Water is starting to rise in Griffith and surrounding areas to the south and east have been evacuated. Griffith remains completely isolated according to Griffith Salvation Army Men’s Crisis Centre Manager, Peter Woodward: “Supermarkets are running out of food and people are panicking as the flood waters are rising.
“There’s paddocks flooded and grapes that are ready to be harvested are rotting. 2012 was going to be a cash crop for our farmers but the floods are washing that away.” A Salvation Army Emergency Services (SAES) team is being flown in from Sydney tonight to assist in the area.
“When the water recedes and we see what’s left, that’s when the real emotional support will be needed,” says Peter Woodward. The Salvation Army will continue to give practical help and emotional support will in flood affected areas for many months to come.
Flooding is continuing to affect towns and properties in Southern NSW and The Salvation Army is spread out in affected areas, feeding and supporting residents, emergency service workers and volunteers.
In Wagga Wagga, four more evacuation centres were opened at midnight. The Salvation Army is at each centre, providing meals, refreshments and a place to rest for residents and workers.
Cootamundra Salvation Army have sent a team of people to Wagga Wagga along with a Salvation Army Emergency Service (SAES) trailer to relieve workers and volunteers. Wagga Wagga Salvation Army Lieutenant Tammy Shelley, says the community support is incredible, “We have people constantly dropping off food and blankets and pillows for people in the evacuation centre. Coca Cola dropped off a load of bottled water today, it’s really great to see the community looking out for each other.”
Lieutenant Shelley says 500 sandwiches were given out across the centres at lunchtime today.
Other parts of the state are now cut off, says South NSW & ACT SAES Coordinator Bruce Smith, “We have local Salvation Army people in Leeton and also on standby in Forbes and the surrounding area where water is expected to peak in the next couple of days.”
In West Wyalong, Salvation Army Rural Chaplains for Southern NSW Les and Noelene Barass have provided meals and support to 36 residents at the evacuation centre. Les says people on properties in The Bland Shire, just outside of West Wyalong, are generally prepared for flooding, “they build on the highest ground but there’s no way you can be prepared for this.”
“In the area of Humbug Creek, I already know of one farmer who has lost almost all his flock and another on The Bland who’s lost around 13 thousand sheep in this recent flood.” These are farmers who spent the last few years recovering from almost 10 years of drought, says Les, “they’ve lost their livelihood and they are completely isolated in their homes by water.”
As the water is receding, Les and Noelene are working together with other organisations in West Wyalong and surrounds to support flood victims both emotionally and physically.
As water levels subside in some parts of southern NSW and evacuation centres close, towns in the Riverina area remain on high alert. Salvation Army Emergency Service (SAES) teams across Southern NSW & ACT continue to support residents and SES workers in flood affected areas.
In Wagga Wagga The Salvation Army is working out of the evacuation centre at the Senior Citizen’s hall, catering for evacuees, SES and volunteers. “The community has banned together here,” says Wagga Wagga Salvation Army Lieutenant Ian Shelley, “A lot of people in North Wagga have already been evacuated but the ones still in their houses are looking out for their neighbours.”
The evacuation centre in Wagga opened on Saturday and has since served over 200 meals at each serving. Lt Ian Shelley says flood waters are expected to peak tomorrow, “If the river comes up as high as they say we’ll have to move the evacuation centre, we’re just taking it one meal at a time here.”
The Salvation Army in Leeton remains on high alert, South NSW & ACT SAES Coordinator Bruce Smith says although nothing has happened yet, “our people are ready and will be there if the town needs them.”
Evacuation centre’s in Cooma and Goulburn officially closed on Sunday at 3pm, “Our teams across the south of the state have done excellent work and where it’s needed, it is still continuing,” says Bruce Smith. All SAES teams will remain on alert until flood warnings across the state are lifted.
The Salvation Army’s flood relief efforts in South NSW are continuing today and Salvation Army Emergency Service (SAES) teams are on standby across the state as more water is expected to hit regional areas over the next 24 hours.
Cooma has been one of the worst hit areas in southern NSW to date. An evacuation centre was set up last night, seeing about 250 people come through the doors. “We gave out about 130 meals yesterday,” says Cooma Salvation Army Captain Louise Nicholson, “and distributed accommodation and meal vouchers to everyone who came through the centre.”
Refreshments, meals and support were given to residents in Cooma throughout the day. Sixty-nine residents from a local nursing home were evacuated to the centre yesterday, “A lot of extra care was taken to assist elderly with dementia and meet dietary needs of the residents evacuated,” says Captain Nicholson. SAES teams have stood down today, in preparation for the water that’s expected to hit Cooma over the weekend.
While low-lying areas in Bega and surrounds are under water, Bega Salvation Army Lieutenant Karen Harrison says the situation has eased. “Our SAES team have been on standby to assist in Cooma, but the roads out of town are now blocked.” Last night Salvation Army Personnel at the evacuation centre at Bega Showground served meals to stranded locals and SES personnel and volunteers. Lieutenant Harrison says the evacuation centre is now closed until further notice.
Last night in Cowra SAES served around 40 meals at the Rural Fire Station to Emergency Service Personnel and flood relief workers.
Water levels have dropped over night in Goulburn and the evacuation centre is scaling down. South NSW and ACT SAES Coordinator Bruce Smith says, most residents evacuated in the area have left to stay with family and friends but people should know The Salvation Army is here should they need anything.
“SAES teams right across South NSW and ACT are on standby all weekend, we will continue to be here should the situation get worse,” says Bruce Smith.
February 2012 - Floods in North NSW and South Queensland
The Salvation Army continues the clean up as water subsides in parts of North NSW and South Queensland.
In Moree, North NSW, Salvation Army personnel and volunteers are working alongside residents as they asses the damage and clean up their homes.
The feeding centre is still operating in the PCYC in Moree, although, Captain Chris Shadbolt of Moree Salvation Army says the need for the feeding centre is starting to ease, “we now have teams of people out in the streets, cleaning up the town and helping people move ruined furniture out of their homes.”
Salvation Army Emergency Services (SAES) teams from Moree and Tamworth have served a total of 8,972 meals from the 2nd February to date.
Practical help and emotional support will continue in the community for months to come, says Captain Shadbolt, “Our teams are giving out food hampers and supplies, making sure everyone has what they need at the time.”
In Brisbane, the evacuation centre served a total of 600 meals from 6th-8th February. Norm Archer, SAES Director says, “Small food packs now being supplied by SAES Department of Communities for disaster affected people in local accommodation in Brisbane following closure of the evacuation centre.”
Mitchell feeding centre is still home to one family and serving meals for SES personnel and volunteers. Yesterday 200 meals were served at the centre by the Gold Coast SAES team.
“We want the community to know that we are still here and will continue to be for as long as the clean up takes,” says Mr Archer.
The Salvation Army continues to support those stranded by floodwaters in parts of Queensland, while in north New South Wales the clean up has begun.
Water levels are lowering and people’s spirits are lifting in Mitchell, according to Salvation Army Outback Flying Service pilot, Captain Mark Bulow: “A lot of people are getting back to some sort of normality, some are getting payments come through so they can start purchasing food and necessities instead of coming to the evacuation centres for help.”
The Salvation Army is continuing its operations in evacuation centres throughout Queensland – providing meals for people who are stranded and emergency services personnel and volunteers who are working in the disaster zones.
Director of The Salvation Army’s Emergency Service (SAES), Norm Archer, says yesterday 370 meals were served in Mitchell: “We’ve got 19 Salvation Army Emergency Service personnel on the ground in Mitchell.”
A team of seven SAES personnel from Kingaroy, Pine Rivers and Redcliff arrived by helicopter to Charleville on Monday evening, serving 230 meals at breakfast and lunch yesterday.
In Roma, the clean up has begun and SAES personnel and volunteers are continuing to support the townsfolk: “We’ll continue to support the community as long as it’s needed,” says Mr Archer. The Salvation Army has served more than 2,500 meals in Roma since the floods began.
In Moree, North NSW, Salvation Army personnel and volunteers are helping residents as they assess the damage and start cleaning up their homes. SAES Director Norm Archer says: “The situation in the evacuation centre is starting to ease, however much needs to be done as the recover process begins.” Teams are currently being deployed from Tamworth in to Moree to relieve the local SAES team. 145 meals were given out at breakfast and lunch yesterday, 7th February, at the feeding centre in Moree.
Moree Salvation Army Captain Mark Shadbolt says support will be needed for some time.
“Once people head home and see the damage, that’s when the emotional things start to kick in,” he says. “We want to let the community know we are still here. Even when the clean up is over.”
Today a team of Salvation Army personnel and community volunteers are taking a sausage sizzle, food packs and bottled water to people still in flood-affected areas. “We’ve got people helping move furniture, clean up yards and fix fences, whatever needs doing,” says Captain Shadbolt.
The Salvation Army has launched a national flood relief appeal to help those affected. Donate online or call 13 SALVOS (13 72 58).
Moree – Northern NSW
The rain has eased off in Moree in north-west NSW, since flood waters rushed through the town last Thursday 2nd February. While the immediate danger has subsided, Moree Salvation Army Officer, Captain Chris Shadbolt says: “Really it’s just starting for people now, as they are going back to their house and finding out what’s actually happened. That’s when everything hits home.”
Since the evacuation centre was set up last Thursday The Salvation Army Emergency Services Team (SAES) has served anywhere between 80 – 300 meals, 3 times a day to evacuees, State Emergency Service crews and others.
“We’ve also got a team out at the moment offering to help move people’s damaged furniture and rubbish to the roadside and offering assistance to help mow lawns and anything that needs doing,” says Captain Shadbolt.
Tomorrow afternoon a team of Salvation Army personnel will be taking fresh water, food packs and a sausage sizzle to residents still in flood affects areas.
Roma, Dalby & St George – Southern Queensland
The evacuation centre in Dalby, Southern Queensland, has been active since Friday 3rd February and since Sunday evening it has been home to many people from the St George community as well. “Roughly 2500 people from the St George area are now in the Dalby centre,” says Major Alan Daly, Salvation Army Rural Chaplain.
Major Daly and his wife were among those evacuated from St George on Sunday and have been assisting in Dalby since they arrived. “We are serving breakfasts and making sure people have everything they need: water, food, toiletries - everything to see that they are as comfortable as possible,” says Major Daly.
“People are anxious now about what is going to happen and what sort of job they have ahead of them when they get back to their homes.”
In Roma, flood waters have subsided and the clean up has begun. Salvation Army Emergency Services (SAES) South Queensland Coordinator, David Howell says: “Members of SAES teams from Ipswich and Carindale in Brisbane are still in Roma, assisting with the clean up of the area.
“1000 meals were served in Roma yesterday,” says Mr Howell. “In Mitchell the whole town is still cut off and the Salvation Army team there is feeding 300 plus people a day - 600 meals were given out yesterday.”
An SAES team from Brisbane arrived in Charleville on Monday evening, 6th February, to set up a feeding and evacuation centre. An evacuation centre at the RNA Showground is operational in Brisbane, with meals being served by SAES teams from Stafford and Slacks Creek.
Major Neil Dickson, South Queensland Public Relations Secretary says: “The centre was set up to accommodate a small number of St George residents flown to Brisbane on Monday. It’s not as busy as we thought, approximately 50 people are there at any given time.” So far 220 meals have been given out.
Salvation Army Emergency Services (SAES) South Queensland Coordinator, David Howell has thanked everyone involved so far: “It’s a wonderful bunch of people, they are all committed and working hard. It’s good to be a part of and work alongside such wonderful people.”
Gunnedah & Moree - Northern NSW
In the town of Moree, north-west NSW, flooding began on Thursday 2nd February. That night, the Salvation Army Emergency Services (SAES) team of 20 served 95 meals at the PCYC evacuation centre to evacuees, SES crews and others.
“The SAES team served 200 for dinner on Friday night and was expecting 300 on Saturday,” said Lochie McKay, North NSW SAES Coordinator.
Numbers were expected to continue to climb over the weekend as the floodwaters peaked. “We have teams on standby from Tenterfield to Tamworth if we need them and can get them safely where they need to go,” said Mr Mckay.
Mr McKay served in the Australian Army for ten years and has experience assisting in floods, fires and other major disasters.
Roma, Mitchell & St George - Southern Queensland
On Friday 3rd February, an SAES team was activated in Roma, south-western Queensland. “The team is assisting at the evacuation centre where 80 people have registered to sleep,” said Major Neil Dickson, South Queensland Divisional Communications and Public Relations Secretary. “On Friday, the SAES team fed over 200 people and the number is growing.”
As of Sunday 5th February, SAES teams from Ipswich and from Inala and Carindale in Brisbane were assisting at Roma. “They fed at least 200 people per meal on Saturday and that number is expected to grow,” said David Howell, South Queensland SAES Coordinator. Envoy Neville Radecker, Rural Chaplain, is also at Roma in his caravan serving there.
“A Chinook helicopter took SAES crews from Dalby, Caboolture and the Gold Coast out to Mitchell on Sunday morning, 6th February,” said Mr Howell. “They are preparing hundreds of meals; it’s hard to estimate how many, and people just keep on coming.”
Major Dickson said that the conditions at the Mitchell evacuation centre were challenging, but the SAES crews had brought supplies and equipment that was helping make it more comfortable and sanitary.
In St George, the whole town was required to evacuate by 9.00pm Sunday 5th February. “Safety cannot be guaranteed so everyone has to leave before the flood waters cut the highway,” said Major Christine Daly, Rural Chaplain, Charleville. Major Christine and her husband Major Allan Daly have been serving breakfast at the evacuation centre in St George since Friday.
“I can’t say enough about the willingness of the SAES volunteers to help and serve,” said Mr Howell. “The conditions and the work are hard and will continue through to cleaning up, but everyone is getting involved and supporting.”
THE Salvation Army in Kenya are pushing on with their drought relief activities. They are continuing to monitor the situation, constantly looking for relevant, innovative ways of responding to the drought crisis.
In Turkana, a desert area in the north, access to water is the biggest problem. In the previous major drought during 2006 The Salvation Army bought tractors and bowsers (mobile water containers). These are being fully utilised during the current drought transporting water to more than 20 remote areas. Around 2,500 families and nine schools are benefitting from weekly water deliveries.
This is obviously not a permanent solution but there are plans to drill boreholes, ideally linked to solar-powered pumps – there is definitely no lack of sun in Turkana! The first borehole project is under way and the hydrological survey has started. The borehole will be located in a school and benefit the surrounding community as well as the 500 schoolchildren.
A 'food for fees' programme is being put in place. In Kenya parents usually have to pay school fees in order for their children to attend secondary schools. The fees cover food, water, materials and transport. In Turkana many families – often pastoralists whose small flocks of sheep or goats have died because of the drought – have no money for food, let alone school fees.
The Salvation Army's project will provide all 17 secondary and high schools in Turkana with food, benefitting a total of 5,886 children. There is an agreement with the schools that in exchange for food, school fees will be waived for the coming term. This will benefit the school, which can concentrate its resources on teaching materials, as well as the children, who will be able to continue their schooling and know they will get at least one good meal a day.
Meetings have taken place with the Ministry of Water, the Ministry of Education, Oxfam, World Vision, the Kenyan Red Cross, the World Food Programme (WFP) and other helping groups. Elizabeth Nabutola, the Head of WFP's Turkana Office says: 'No one is targeting secondary schools. The Salvation Army would really fill a gap.'
An international Salvation Army emergency response team is now in Turkana and others will be sent in support of the territory during the coming months.
The Salvation Army is also helping drought-affected people around the town of Isiolo. One of the projects being undertaken is emergency food provision to 5,000 people for the next three months.
The second major project now under way concerns the alleviation of hunger among primary school children in and around Machakos. More than 3,500 children in 16 primary schools will be provided with a lunchtime meal during the next two school terms to ensure they survive this very difficult time.
Funding is in place for the current projects but the drought is likely to get worse over the coming months, with the amount of money available directly limiting the number of people who can be helped.
September 2011 - Salvation Army continues drought response in Uganda
The Salvation Army in Uganda is responding to drought conditions that have taken hold across much of the Horn of Africa. Children are particularly vulnerable, with malnourishment among under-fives having increased dramatically.
In one district the government now uses two health centres – Magada and Nsinze Clinics – solely for the purpose of dealing with malnourished children. The Red Cross and UNICEF are providing food but children and their families have been sleeping on the ground, there is no water and hygiene is a major problem.
When Salvation Army assessment teams became aware of the situation they stepped in to provide 200 mattresses, 200 jerrycans, 200 wash basins, 500 long bars of soap and 100 jerrycans of liquid soap. Plans are under way to sink a borehole so there is a constant supply of clean water. The Salvation Army's support is greatly appreciated. It is making a small but significant difference to the children and their families.
The staff in these compact health centres work day and night to look after more than 250 children. The night before The Salvation Army delivered the mattresses one child had died. Another nine were buried only a few days earlier. But the problem seen in the health centres is just the tip of the iceberg. There is a large number of malnourished children in the surrounding villages. The local government has started a campaign to encourage villagers to bring their children to the health centres before it is too late.
In one of the villages a Salvation Army project officer met a young woman, Nalongo. Her name means ‘mother of the twins’. She told him that her breast milk had run dry, probably because she had not eaten sufficiently. Once a day she tries to feed the babies porridge made of cassava flour, which is not very nutritious – but it’s all she can afford.
Mothers like Nalongo are in a very difficult situation. The project officer encouraged her to go to the local health centre with her children. In the meantime she was one of the more than 700 families who benefited from food provided by The Salvation Army. Each family received 15 kg of maize and 10 kg of beans.
More projects are planned and an international Salvation Army team is on its way to assist the Uganda Command.
The drought in east Africa is set to last for some time. Donations to The Salvation Army's Africa Disaster Fund will allow teams in Uganda and other east African countries to provide vital assistance. Support has been offered from around the world, with donations already received from countries including Australia, Canada, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, The Netherlands, New Zealand, Southern Africa and USA.
August 2011 - Salvation Army provides water and food to drought-hit communities in East Africa
As the drought crisis in East Africa causes worldwide concern, The Salvation Army is responding to the situation using its local knowledge and personnel to provide immediate relief. There is currently no Salvation Army work in Somalia or Ethiopia so the focus for now is on Kenya and Uganda.
Assessments carried out by The Salvation Army and government sources have shown that the nomadic people of the Turkana region of northern Kenya face widespread starvation. Three rainfall seasons have failed, livestock has died, milk production has dropped and food stocks are depleted.
Water is scarce, with people in the region having to travel on average more than three kilometres to access water. Schools are closing because they lack funds to pay food and water bills.
The Salvation Army is initially addressing the water situation, using water tanks (known as bowsers) pulled by tractors. The tractors and bowsers were bought in 2005 as part of a previous International Emergency Services project. Water will be collected from boreholes and large water tanks on Salvation Army properties and taken to communities and schools in Turkana.
Funding of almost $50,000 provided through The Salvation Army's international headquarters in London will cover fuel and maintenance costs for two tractors for six months, as well as paying staff costs for drivers and assistants. Some of the funds will improve storage facilities of schools and villages. The project's implementation follows consultation with the Kenyan Government, local officials, the Red Cross and Oxfam.
The scheme will provide around 5,000 villagers and 2,000 schoolchildren with clean, safe water. This will have further benefits of decreasing the distance travelled to fetch water and reducing the risk of women being abused as they seek water in isolated locations.
In central eastern Uganda, thousands of families have had poor harvests for the past five years, either because there was too little rain or – at other times – because there was so much rain that floods have destroyed the crops. The Salvation Army has been working in the area, distributing food to needy families.
Following recent landslides in a mountainous region, food was distributed to 680 families.
Staff from The Salvation Army visited villages in the Namutumba district near Mbale to assess the needs of 4,000 families. Projects are being arranged for food and sanitation goods to be supplied. Boreholes will be drilled to ensure water is available to the most needy of families, even as the drought takes a greater hold.
The most urgent need is for water in two medical clinics. Mothers have been bringing malnourished children into the clinics, but more than 80 have died this year alone. A water bore for the main clinic will help to boost survival rates.
The Salvation Army in Kenya and Uganda are continuing to monitor the situation and ask for your support in any way possible.
The Salvation Army recognises that it will take many Queenslanders years to recover from the enormity of the natural disasters that hit the state in early 2011. This means remaining flexible and changing direction, or increasing our support, depending on what is happening on the front line.
In response to a sustained high level of callers to its 24-hour disaster assistance line, The Salvation Army has launched “Operation Reinforce”, an initiative to deploy teams of Salvation Army staff and volunteers to assist workers at the front-line. Salvation Army employees have been released from their normal work duties to participate.
The volunteer teams assist for a period of five days and undertake assessment, pastoral support and visits to residents of flood and cyclone affected areas.
Their work ranges from:
- Assessment and visitation of people on the lists provided by Flood Relief Line
- Delivering donated goods
- Food preparation and support to other volunteers
- Door knocking in areas particularly affected by the natural disasters to check on residents well being
Those with complex, ongoing needs receive ongoing support from full time staff attached to local Salvation Army centers.
Over an eight-week period Operation Reinforce staff and volunteers have undertaken thousands assessment visits to Queenslanders affected by the disasters.
Captain Stan and Connie Hindle can attest to the importance of going door-to-door to check on how people are coping. These retired Salvation Army officers travelled to Nth Qld in their caravan to assist in the recovery efforts.
Stan recalls, “I went down to a particular house and saw a lady there … and she said to me, ‘You know something, you are the first person to come into this house since the cyclone to see if we are alive or dead”.
SALVATION Army Emergency Disaster Services (EDS) personnel continue to meet material, emotional, and spiritual needs across the southern United States of America, where tornadoes and storms have caused destruction on a scale not seen for nearly a century. More than 350 people are known to have been killed, including at least 250 in the state of Alabama, where Governor Robert Bentley expects more bodies to be found in the coming days.
Salvation Army EDS crews are at work in Alabama, Mississippi, Arkansas, Georgia, Virginia, Tennessee and Kentucky. After days of intense service, several locations are scaling back response efforts while some places hit particularly hard by the storms are still in need of daily feeding and spiritual care.
Since the tornado season began, The Salvation Army has served 86,000 hot meals and distributed 260,000 sandwiches as well as providing spiritual and physical support to thousands of suffering people.
Thirty-eight Salvation Army feeding units and one shower trailer are active in Mississippi and Alabama. Since the end of April, tens of thousands of meals and drinks have been distributed. On Friday (29 April) and Saturday alone, Salvation Army teams served 30,820 meals and 51,072 drinks. More than 1,300 people received the emotional and spiritual care that is a vital aspect of Salvation Army disaster response.
In Arkansas, EDS personnel continue to monitor rising water levels which have reached major flood stage in nine counties. At present, one mobile feeding unit is serving Randolph County. More than 5,000 meals have been served since Monday 2 May.
Operations in Georgia are beginning to wind down but several units are still in service. At the request of the government agency FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency), a mobile feeding remained in Spalding County, as did a social service representative in Harold County. Additionally, operations continue in Catoosa, Walker, Dade and Trenton Counties. Teams served 8,596 meals and 4,195 drinks in Spalding, 720 meals and 1,490 drinks in Rome, and 120 meals and 350 drinks in Cartersville.
In Cleveland, Tennessee, and north Georgia, EDS crews are offering meals, beverages and emotional/spiritual care services to keep pace with the needs of communities hit hard by the storms. In Tennessee, operations will diminish in Henderson, Murfreesboro and Clarksville as local resources are once again available for storm survivors.
With the search and rescue operation complete and power lines and debris cleared from roads in Chattanooga, Tennessee, The Salvation Army is moving into areas it was not able to access in previous days. An increasing number of people are seeking prayer and physical support. Volunteer Karen Diliberto says: 'When someone has lost everything, what they need most is hope. What better hope to provide than the healing power of prayer?'
Assistance has been provided in Dyersburg, Bradley, Hamilton, Greenville and Lake Counties (Tennessee) and Washington County (Virginia). By the morning of Sunday 1 May, 800 volunteers had logged 7,000 hours while helping staff serve approximately 14,500 meals throughout the three states.
One of the places particularly badly hit was Tuscaloosa, Alabama, where more than 40 people were killed by a tornado that tore through the city. Hundreds are still not accounted for.
Lieutenant Jerry Williams, Incident Command Coordinator, had a simple message for the people of Tuscaloosa from The Salvation Army: 'We’re on the ground. We were there yesterday, we’ll be there tomorrow and we’ll stay until this disaster ends!'
The emergency reponse in Tuscaloosa had to be coordinated from a site at the airport because The Salvation Army's properties in the city were destroyed. Major Cherry Crowder reports: 'There were 30 of us huddled in the [Salvation Army] administrative building when the tornado passed over us. But we had a miracle happen here because the building was destroyed but the only injury we had was one bruised thumb.'
Some things carried on as usual, though, despite the destruction. On Sunday 1 May a church service was held at the destroyed Tuscaloosa Salvation Army Corps, along with a short time of prayer and song at the incident command centre.
Connie Pulam, a resident of nearby Pratt City, Alabama, is receiving help from The Salvation Army.
'I may be houseless,' she said on Monday 2 May, while sifting through the splinters and rubble that was once her house, 'but I am not homeless as long as I have somewhere to lay my head. I am alive.'
Connie and her husband were able to get out of their house just before the tornado hit. 'Something told me – I imagine the Holy Spirit – to get out of there, so we got in the car and took off.'
The Pulams cling onto a hope found only in faith. Undergirding that faith is The Salvation Army’s presence in Pratt City and across Alabama. The Salvation Army has had two canteens in the area since the tornado hit. Residents in Pratt City and other areas affected have had access to water, food and counselling.
'We are just happy to see the help coming,' said Connie. 'It is a blessing to have The Salvation Army here. It is just a comfort to know they care.'
For more info, log on to salvationarmy.org
April 2011- Easter Message from Commissioner James Condon
My wife and I served for three years in Papua-New Guinea. In that culture, story telling plays a prominent role.
Groups of people sit under trees, beneath homes, on verandahs, sharing stories of their families, tribes and villages.
Many people in PNG do not have access to television, but even the minority who do have TV don’t allow it to intrude on their practice of telling stories.
I heard some amazing stories during my time in PNG. At times, I wondered if what I was hearing could possibly be true. One story was about a bird landing on the sea off the coast near Port Moresby. When it landed on the sea, the bird turned into an island which was named Fisherman’s Island.
At this time of year, we share the greatest love story ever told. It’s not about a boy-girl or man-woman relationship. It’s about a father and son.
In our world today, people are craving for love. They have a hunger for love. Sadly in many families, love is a missing ingredient and some are unable to find love in a relationship.
The Easter story is the greatest love story ever told about a father – in this case God – and His son Jesus Christ.
In John’s gospel (chapter 13 and verse one), it is recorded: “It was just before the Passover Feast. Jesus knew that the time had come for him to leave this world and go to the Father. Having loved his own who were in the world, he now showed them the full extent of his love.”
The love of God is not just a story to be told; it is a love to be experienced and it’s an extensive love that reaches to all.
John records in chapter three verse 16:“For God loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”
The author of love is God – for God is love
The object of His love – the world
The demonstration of His love – His only Son died on the Cross
The recipients of His love – whoever believes in Him
The security of His love – everlasting life
This is a true story; the greatest love story ever told.
Commissioner James Condon
The Salvation Army, Australia Eastern Territory
THE Salvation Army in Myanmar (sometimes known as Burma) is responding with emergency supplies after a 7.0-magnitude earthquake hit the east of the country on Friday 25 March. Initial reports indicated that the earthquake had caused relatively little damage and that only two people were killed. As more contact is made with the affected area, however, it now appears that at least 70 and perhaps as many as 150 people lost their lives.
Lieut-Colonel Bob Lee, Chief Secretary for The Salvation Army's Singapore, Malaysia and Myanmar Territory, says he has received word from the Salvation Army corps (church) in Thachileik, eastern Myanmar, that 'there has been widespread damage to homes, property and even infrastructure such as roads'.
Salvation Army officers in charge of the work in Thachileik are assessing the situation but Lieut-Colonel Lee reports: 'We have not been able to make consistent contact via email or phone.'
International Headquarters has made US$5,000 available, which will cover the initial costs of buying bottled drinking water, basic food, sleeping mats and blankets.
A team of cadets and officers from the school for officer training in Yangon is being sent to Thachileik to help with the distribution and to offer spiritual and psychological support. Lieut-Colonel Lee says they 'will be a valuable support and encouragement to the officers and also to the community there'.
March 2011- Japan Earthquake/Tsunami
THE Salvation Army in New Zealand is taking the next steps in its reaction to the Christchurch earthquake, having concluded the concentrated visitation programme that formed a major part of its initial response. The focus now is on helping people become more independent, meeting medium and long-term needs in the city.
Unemployment in the city is rising and likely to increase once Government support for local businesses ends at the end of May. The Salvation Army recognises that its recovery work needs to be long-term and sustainable.
Southern Division Commander Major Clive Nicolson says that, while residents needing material and emotional support will continue to receive help from The Salvation Army, those who are able will be encouraged to take responsibility for their own day-to-day needs.
Major Daryl Crowden is an Australian International Emergency Services officer working alongside Major Nicolson. He says a significant number of residents are still 'hunkered down', rarely leaving their homes. He points out that apart from making people more self-reliant, encouraging them to take greater responsibility for themselves is beneficial to their mental health. 'We're trying to get them to see beyond their four walls and put their situation in context,' says Major Crowden.
Some residents are exhibiting significant degrees of frustration and anger as they await answers about the future of their properties. Major Crowden says that while these emotions are an expected part of the recovery process, Salvation Army workers are often the ones faced with the difficult task of providing emotional support and helping people put their bureaucratic problems into context.
As from this week, the number of psychosocial workers providing emotional and practical support to quake-affected residents in the city has reduced from around 100 to 25.
For the first time The Salvation Army has permission to send a team of eight psychosocial workers into the orange zone of the central business district (CBD) to check on residents allowed to move back into their homes. The orange zone has been off limits since the quake and it will be the first time that many of these residents have received comprehensive support.
Demand on Salvation Army Community Ministries is gradually diminishing, with food parcel distribution down to around 200 a day, compared to 800 in the days following the quake. Salvation Army Emergency Services were serving up to 970 meals a day until the end of last week but are now only feeding those engaged in The Salvation Army's earthquake response. Most of the content of food parcels is provided directly by corporate donations.
Salvation Army Public Relations Secretary Major Robbie Ross says companies looking to support the Army's work in Christchurch continue to make contact. Some are also showing interest in supporting The Salvation Army's wider community work.
The New Zealand Food and Grocery Council has canvassed its members on behalf of The Salvation Army with astounding results, says Major Ross. Kellogg's, for instance, has been providing weekly shipments of breakfast cereals since the February earthquake. In addition, NZ$160,000-worth of grocery vouchers has been purchased from Progressive Enterprises at discount. The company is also providing expertise in organising The Salvation Army's recently acquired storage facility.
Where possible The Salvation Army is providing vouchers rather than food parcels or other items. This is to stimulate the fragile local economy. Companies such as Chevron and Mitre 10 have donated funds for vouchers. Some other assistance is coming through partnership projects, such as clothing vouchers with Postie Plus and NZ$500 Care Cards developed in conjunction with Westpac Bank.
The Salvation Amy has distributed more than 1,250 Care Cards and provided around 300 Care Breaks to individuals and families to help them get respite away from Christchurch.
The Army is currently having three purpose-built shower units manufactured in China. The showers will be capable of providing up to 400 people with showers each day. With colder weather and continuing problems with water and waste-water infrastructure in Christchurch, the arrival of the shower units is expected to be welcomed by residents.
A community care van donated by Westpac Bank and fitted out as a mobile office is being used in areas where there is no Salvation Army presence. The van goes to neighbourhoods or other locations where residents congregate so that Salvation Army personnel can provide advice and material or psychosocial support. This service is followed up with more intensive help if needed. Two four-wheel-drive vehicles donated by Isuzu New Zealand are being used to ferry food and other items to residents in areas where the roads are still severely damaged.
The Salvation Army is pleased with the response to its Earthquake Appeal and is working with other major appeals to ensure that donated monies are targeted to the areas of greatest need.
Major Nicolson says the morale of Salvation Army officers, staff and volunteers remains high – even among locals who have damaged or destroyed properties. 'In these difficult times,' he says, 'I feel very privileged to be part of an organisation that cares for people and endeavours to make a difference.'
COMMISSIONER Makoto Yoshida, Commander of The Salvation Army's Japan Territory, reports that the country's recovery from a devastating earthquake and tsunami is 'going well', although he says that ongoing problems at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power station continue to cause 'some uneasiness among the people'. He says that everyday goods, including fuel, are becoming easier to obtain and that around 70 per cent of roads in the disaster zone have now been reopened.
The commissioner adds that the search for missing people is proving to be difficult. Officials report that 15,000 people are still missing, in addition to the 12,000 people known to have been killed in the disaster. Around 166,000 people had to be evacuated from their homes.
The Salvation Army continues to provide assistance where there is a need.
More than 1,100 meals and other necessities were distributed in Sendai on 23 March. Treats were given to the 83 children who went to the distribution. Power and water have now been restored in Sendai so The Salvation Army is likely to end its distribution there, although it may continue to provide assistance to needy areas north of the city.
The story is similar in Yabuki-cho, where Major Kenji Fujii and Captain Kazuyuki Ishikawa met the mayor, who reported that many houses that look fine from the outside actually suffered significant damage and will have to be demolished. Recently installed water pipelines for agricultural usage were destroyed, leading to the loss of the next rice harvest – a significant part of the area's economy.
The Salvation Army emergency team left goods in storage, to be used as necessary. The community was also given a clear message that The Salvation Army would provide support in the future if requested.
At Iwaki-city, which is just outside the 30-kilometre exclusion zone from Fukushima, a team of seven Salvation Army workers distributed 500 hot meals and 6,000 bottles of water in response to a request from the director of the emergency response volunteer desk.
Kesen-numa – about 120 kilometres north of Sendai – was badly damaged by the tsunami. The corps officer (Salvation Army church minister) from Sendai contacted a minister in Kesen-numa and discovered that the community needs support. It has been arranged for two Salvation Army emergency teams to carry out daily distributions of food and other necessities from 12 to 15 April.
Thirty kilometres north-east of Kesen-numa is the coastal community of Rikuzen-Takada, which was badly damaged by the tsunami. A Salvation Army team distributed hot meals and water on 5 April. While there, team members investigated how the Army can offer further assistance.
SALVATION Army emergency workers in Japan report that the government disaster response is proceeding well and that most areas in need of assistance have now been reached. Salvation Army teams continue to provide vital supplies such as food and water in Sendai and also in Yabuki-cho, both of which are near Fukushima but outside the exclusion zone set up around the nuclear power plant. Yabuki-cho appears to be one of the few areas not yet reached by government help.
Some areas hit particularly badly by the disaster are still not accessible but Salvation Army workers understand that other non-governmental organisations are also not being allowed into these parts. The exclusion zone around the Fukushima Daichi nuclear power plant remains in place and local reports suggest the situation is improving.
As previously reported, bottled water has been provided to The Salvation Army's Japan Territory from Korea. The Salvation Army World Services Organisation (SAWSO) in the USA is organising a delivery of blankets and has arranged for samples of food packages to be sent to territorial leaders who will then have the option to order any if needed.
There has been a considerable financial response to The Salvation Army's Japan Disaster Appeal from around the world. The Japan Territory believes funds already available in-country will cover the costs of the current response and that money raised from around the world will enable a medium to long-term response. The territory is considering building temporary accommodation and providing household goods and equipment but these plans are still at the early stages.
Commissioner Makoto Yoshida, The Salvation Army's Territorial Commander in Japan, is grateful for the practical and spiritual support that has been offered from across the world.
He reports that commuters in Tokyo who were given food, drink and shelter at territorial headquarters on the night of the earthquake have sent letters of thanks, some including a donation for the relief work.
THE Salvation Army's earthquake response in Japan is continuing its work despite difficulties caused by snow and the lack of fuel. A team that was set to head from Tokyo to the tsunami-hit north of the country had to delay its journey because of snow but has now made its way to Sendai, where a distribution will take place tomorrow morning (Saturday).
The three teams that carried out distributions in Sendai, Koriyama, Shirakawa, Fukushima and Mito City on Wednesday 16 March returned to The Salvation Army's Japan Territorial Headquarters in Tokyo to report on what they had seen and decide what should be done next. International Emergency Services worker Major Raelton Gibbs reports: 'The work that has been done is commendable – from feeding programmes out of Salvation Army halls to the distribution of blankets, water bottles, bread and nappies (diapers).'
He says that Tokyo continues to feel aftershocks and admits that 'no matter how many you experience they are all a little daunting'.
The Salvation Army distribution teams are well aware of the concerns surrounding the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power station and are staying clear of the exclusion zones.
Major Gibbs says he has been impressed by the response put together by The Salvation Army's Japan Territory. The fuel and weather problems mean that people have had to be flexible. He tells of one group that tried to get to Sendai but was unable to make it all the way and so met the needs of some smaller communities around Koriyama on the way back to Tokyo.
The focus is understandably on the immediate response but Major Gibbs says that longer-term plans are being put in place, such as the provision of cooking equipment when people return to their communities. As it often does in emergency responses, The Salvation Army will pay particular attention to communities that have been missed by the government and other agencies.
Photos of The Salvation Army's response in Japan can be found on the International Headquarters Flickr site.
THREE Salvation Army teams in Japan are providing vital assistance to people affected by the country's earthquake, the resulting tsunami and ongoing problems at a nuclear power station. The Japanese Government has recognised the Army's work and given its teams permission to enter the disaster area and use access roads that are closed off to the public.
The first of the three teams went to Sendai, where about 1,000 meals were served to evacuees. Hot meals and drinks were prepared in The Salvation Army's mobile emergency canteen and given out at Sendai Corps (Salvation Army church). Handy towels and Salvation Army publications were also distributed.
Another team went to a relief office in the Mito area and unloaded bottles of water, biscuits, blankets, nappies (diapers) and tissue boxes for distribution to evacuees.
The third team headed to an area where people had been evacuated from the vicinity around the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power station, but snow and shortage of petrol meant they had to divert to other areas to support evacuees.
Offers of support are pouring in from around the world. Two experienced International Emergency Services workers have flown to Tokyo from International Headquarters in London to assist their Japanese colleagues. The BBC reports that volunteers from a British group which failed to obtain clearance to work in the affected areas 'donated their food and medical supplies to The Salvation Army working in the country'.
The Salvation Army's Korea Territory has arranged for the K-Water Corporation to provide 100,000 bottles of water to be sent to Japan – 30,000 bottles by the end of the week, followed by the rest within a short time – and the Korea Disaster Relief Association will be sending 5,000 first-aid kits. Salvationists in Korea are holding a month of prayer for the people of Japan.
In a touching show of solidarity 1,500 young Salvationists in Haiti – who themselves have recent experience of a devastating earthquake – made prayer for Japan a focus of their rally in Fond-des-Nègres on 11-12 March.
THE Salvation Army in Japan has three emergency service relief teams operating in areas devastated by the earthquake and tsunami that hit the north-east coast of the country last week. One of the teams is assisting people who have been evacuated from areas where there is potential danger because of damage to nuclear power generation stations.
At this time there are no reports of any loss of Salvation Army personnel or damage to corps buildings.
Immediately following the earthquake and tsunami an assessment team was sent from Tokyo to Sendai (the city nearest the centre of the earthquake). It took the team 20 hours to travel a journey that usually is accomplished in six hours.
Road and rail systems have been severely affected. There is a shortage of petrol, with many petrol stations closed and queues up to three kilometres long at stations that are open.
The disaster has affected a 2,000 kilometre north-south stretch of Japan. Official reports now state that more than 10,000 people are dead or missing.
Arrangements are being made for emergency service personnel from The Salvation Army International Headquarters (IHQ) to go to Japan to assist with the Army's relief effort.
A number of Salvation Army territories have informed IHQ of financial and prayer support for the Army's relief effort in Japan. The Salvation Army in South Korea has set aside the next four weeks specifically for prayer and fundraising for Japan.
THE Salvation Army in Japan is responding to the earthquake and tsunami that brought devastation to the north of the country. Communication and travel have been badly hit by the disaster, and at the moment the true cost in human life and property can only be guessed.
The most damaged city is Sendai, about 400 kilometres away from Tokyo. Commissioner Makoto Yoshida, leader of The Salvation Army's Japan Territory, was at territorial headquarters in Tokyo and reports: 'Our building swayed tremendously. It was hard for us to keep standing and many of us were really frightened.'
He adds: 'We are sending a team to Sendai tonight [11 March] and tomorrow we will start providing the basic necessities as well as assessing the level of damage so we can decide what else we can do.'
Public transport in Tokyo stopped because of the earthquake, leaving many commuters unable to leave work. Commissioner Yoshida says: 'We opened our hall on the ground floor of territorial headquarters to those who could not go home. We served them with hot drinks and packed meals.'
General Shaw Clifton, the international leader of The Salvation Army, has already been in touch with the commissioner to assure him of the prayers and support of Salvationists around the world.
AS part of its continuing support for earthquake-hit residents in Christchurch, The Salvation Army in New Zealand is distributing 4,000 'Care Cards', each loaded with NZ$500, to affected households. The project was developed in partnership with Westpac Bank.
The use of the Care Card is at the discretion of recipients, but can be put towards the cost of urgent house repairs or to purchase food, clothing or other goods, says Salvation Army Public Relations Secretary Major Robbie Ross. Cards are limited to one per household.
Payments and grants are available from a range of organisations but Salvation Army workers report high levels of earthquake-related unemployment and material hardship experienced by families as well as a substantial degree of anxiety about their futures.
Money for the Care Cards comes from The Salvation Army's Canterbury Earthquake Appeal, which as at 14 March stood at $9.36 million ($5.25 million banked, the remainder in collections and pledges).
The Salvation Army has also released a 'Take a Break' scheme aimed at giving individuals and families suffering significant emotional stress a break away from the city. Help with travel, accommodation and costs will be provided to eligible people.
Major Ross says the need for the scheme has become increasingly evident over the past week. 'While our people are seeing many examples of strong community spirit,' he points out, 'there is clear evidence that some residents in the hardest-hit suburbs are now nearing the end of their emotional endurance limits.'
The Salvation Army still has more than 100 care workers visiting the worst-affected suburbs to assess residents' emotional and material needs, with other personnel following up more complex cases and teams of volunteers delivering food, water, clothing and bedding to those who need them. Another team of volunteers has been providing support to the families of those still listed as missing. The bulk of reinforcement staff – from around the country and Australia – are operating in Monday to Friday shifts, with a smaller staff on weekend duty.
The Salvation Army's Linwood Centre is providing around 800 food parcels a day and other goods, as well as food, fuel and clothing vouchers.
Salvation Army community worker Brent Christoffersen was part of the second wave of reinforcement personnel deployed to Christchurch. He says:
'I was really blasé about the Christchurch earthquake at first. I did care, but there was other stuff going on for me. Then our church (Hutt City Salvation Army Corps in Wellington) held an urgent prayer meeting. I went home from that, watched TV and said to a mate, "Let's go, we have to do something!" I really wanted to get down there once I saw how bad it was.
'Most people were just so pleased to see The Salvation Army. I explained that we were doing brief assessments to find out what people needed and that other people with us would check that their houses were safe to live in. Some people would say, "We're fine," but others said, "It's so good to see you here – you're the first people to come around."
'I took bottles of water to a guy in a wheelchair who couldn't leave his house. I visited an old lady in her 70s, and there were blankets under her dining room table – that was where she was sleeping. Another old lady who was on oxygen was really scared in case her power stopped. I asked her neighbour to keep an eye on her. One lady said that every time a truck went by her house it was like another earthquake. Her nerves were shot.
'The welfare of people's heads and emotional state is going to be a key need now. A guy told me he'd seen a building with three workers on it, and when the earthquake happened, the building just exploded on them. They got out, but those memories are there for that guy and they won't ever go away. I think The Salvation Army needs to keep on caring, especially with counselling and support.
'We can't neglect our people and our communities. We're not the biggest country in the world, but we've got enough people to get down there and help.'
As citizens of the city of Christchurch, New Zealand, and surrounds were still rebuilding after a 7.1 magnitude earthquake in September 2010, a 6.3-magnitude earthquake struck on 22 February 2011. The February earthquake caused widespread damage and total destruction of a wide range of buildings, as well as tragic loss of life.
Despite suffering significant damage to its own buildings, within hours of the second devastating earthquake, The Salvation Army immediately mobilised people, resources and money to assist those in greatest need.
On the day of the earthquake, Salvation Army volunteers served 1500 meals to those unable to go back to their homes (and many thousands of meals daily thereafter, plus offered welfare and psychological support at a range of welfare centres). Salvation Army representatives were also on hand to speak to bereaved family members who attended police briefings on the missing and confirmed dead.
In the days that followed, a fresh influx of Salvation Army personnel from around New Zealand and internationally (including Australian Salvation Army personnel) allowed over 60 Salvation Army workers and volunteers to go out into devastated areas in ‘Suburban Squads’ (teams of 10 that include engineers and representatives of Christchurch City Council) and ‘Flying Squads’ (whose members were brought in whenever there is a need for an intensive psychosocial response).
Major Rex Cross, emergency services coordinator for The Salvation Army in Christchurch says: “You just cannot imagine the enormity of this (quake) compared to the first one."
The Salvation Army support will continue well into the recovery phase.
Salvation Army spokesman Lieutenant-Colonel Lyndon Buckingham says: “Our experience from the September quake was that the emotional shock and after-effects can be great, long-lasting and are often downplayed by those affected.”
Following an announcement from the Australian Federal Government, The Salvation Army in Australia is now able to receive donations from Australians who wish to support the people of Christchurch affected by the February 2011 earthquake. Donations made to The Salvation Army in Australia will be acknowledged with an official tax deductible receipt in line with directions from the Federal Government.
THE Salvation Army's operations in earthquake-affected Canterbury, New Zealand, have shifted up a gear. On Wednesday 2 March Salvation Army emergency services volunteers provided 65 per cent more meals to evacuated residents than they had the previous day. Psychosocial support workers fielded their largest number of teams providing emotional support to residents in the hardest-hit suburbs. Particular assistance was given to people with needing urgent care or material support such as food and water.
With warehousing secured in the Christchurch suburb of Hornby, three specialist managers have been recruited to oversee the movement of bulk goods, heavy transport and accommodation, and to arrange travel for Salvation Army personnel. This development will allow a substantial scaling-up of operations needed for the longer term.
Psychosocial support personnel from Australia and around New Zealand are part of 'Suburban Squad' teams touring the worst-affected eastern suburbs of Christchurch, assessing residents' needs, property and infrastructure. The teams comprise staff and engineers from EQC (the New Zealand Government's Earthquake Commission) and Christchurch City Council, with 122 Salvation Army personnel providing emotional support to residents and identifying people who require additional support. These include elderly people living in isolation, those with chronic health conditions and others who are particularly stressed or anxious. Such cases were followed up by 'flying squads' of 12 Salvation Army officers, with a large team of volunteers delivering food, water and other goods to those in need.
Another 14 psychosocial support workers were based at welfare centres, providing care and support to people evacuated from their homes.
Psychosocial team coordinator Major Lynette Hutson says her teams are making an immense difference to people who, in many cases, had been cut off and were yet to receive outside help. One of the most touching cases seen by the teams was an 18-year-old who was caring for his wheelchair-bound mother and his two adult-aged, intellectually disabled brothers in a house without sewage or water. An emerging issue is the number of elderly people who are struggling to get by, often without water or sewage.
Salvation Army emergency services workers yesterday (2 March) served 4,710 meals to 1,570 people at welfare centres. This number included meals for 100 emergency workers hosted at The Salvation Army's community ministries centre in Linwood. During the day, Linwood Community Ministries delivered 382 food parcels to residents who were without transport and provided 212 food parcels to people arriving at the centre for help.
THE Salvation Army in New Zealand is focusing on providing food and psychosocial support to people affected by the earthquake that devastated the Canterbury region on 22 February. Local Salvation Army staff and officers (ministers) have been joined by others from around the country.
Reinforcement personnel are boosting the psychosocial team that was already established as part of the ongoing recovery work from the September 2010 earthquake. The Salvation Army has been asked to provide up to 40 staff to accompany assessment teams (one Salvationist per team) that will travel through affected areas. Salvationists have also been asked to assess social and welfare needs.
The Salvation Army's earthquake response team is working out of a temporary location at Sydenham Corps (church) because its buildings in Christchurch sustained significant damage. Salvation Army IT staff have arrived on site, travelling overnight from Wellington, and are setting up computer and phone networks.
Salvation Army church members in Christchurch are taking part in the feeding programme. Emergency services coordinator Major Rex Cross says: 'The Salvation Army was up and running almost instantly. We are thrilled with the local response.' Team members at Cowles Stadium were about to start serving breakfast when engineers told them the building might be unsafe. They simply moved outside and served breakfast there.
Reports suggest that the situation in Christchurch remains chaotic. There are also concerns that needs in outer Christchurch suburbs are not well understood.
More news is emerging about an international track meet to raise funds for the earthquake response. The event – held in place of a meet that should have taken place in Christchurch – will take place at Wellington's Newtown Park on Saturday 26 February.
'Track Meet 4 Christchurch' is organised by the athletes themselves and is to be run in association with the New Zealand Olympic Committee, which will present Nick Willis with his long-awaited Olympic silver medal at the beginning of the event. Nick came third in the 1,500 metres in Beijing but was promoted to second when the winner was disqualified in November 2009 after failing a drugs test.
Spectator entry to the track meet is free. However, The Salvation Army will collect donations for the Christchurch relief effort.
Nick says that in response to the events in Christchurch the athletes wanted to do something to help. 'We hope to see at least five athletes break the magic four-minute barrier [for the mile],' he says. 'And we hope to get a large crowd and raise as many funds for the Christchurch people as possible.'
THE Salvation Army in New Zealand is responding after the city of Christchurch was hit by a huge earthquake on Tuesday 22 February – the second major earthquake to affect the city in less than six months. At least 65 people are known to have been killed and – at time of writing – hundreds are trapped in the debris.
The 6.3-magnitude earthquake struck at 12.51 pm local time, causing structural damage and total destruction of some buildings. Vehicles were crushed by falling debris. Medical triage centres have established around the city and the mayor of Christchurch has declared a state of emergency.
The city of Christchurch and parts of the surrounding region were still rebuilding after a 7.1 earthquake that struck in the early hours of 4 September 2010. While that earthquake damaged buildings and made some homes inhabitable, there were no deaths and only a small number of injuries. The 22 February earthquake – said by seismologists to be an aftershock to the 2010 quake – was of a lesser magnitude than that in September but it was closer to the city centre and nearer to the surface, which is why the damage is more significant.
By late afternoon The Salvation Army was assisting more than 1,000 people at a welfare site established near the inner city at Hagley Park. Shocked and grief-stricken locals are temporarily being housed in large marquees that were already on site for a flower show.
Major Rex Cross, emergency services coordinator for The Salvation Army in Christchurch, said that The Salvation Army was calling its emergency response teams together. Travel across the city was extremely difficult, however, and people are being told to stay away from the city centre.
Catering supplies have been organised for around 1,500 people, says Major Cross, giving assurance that 'food is on its way and people will be fed’.
The Salvation Army Australia have launched an appeal to support the thousands affected by this disaster.
February 2011 - Cyclone Yasi
Salvation Army emergency services teams responded immediately in the aftermath of tropical cyclone Yasi which lashed the far northeast coast of Queensland on the 2nd and 3rd of February, causing widespread devastation and destruction.
In the morning after Yasi, Salvation Army Emergency Services (SAES) teams were serving breakfast at Innisfail, which lost power and sustained severe damages.
Access was initially cut to the worst hit townships along the coast, but SAES teams were preparing to go in there as soon as the highway was re-opened. Two Salvation Army members from Innisfail gained access to Tully on 5th February and fed 200 people. Teams from Cairns and Atherton are now assisting with catering to over 600 people and a catering vehicle has been sent to supplement the effort.
Townsville teams gained access to Cardwell on 6th February and a divisional catering truck has been sent there. “A team from Newcastle is supplementing the work, and we also have evacuation catering taking place now at nearby Tully Heads,” said Major Rodney Walters, Divisional Commander, Central and North Queensland Division.
SAES teams also catered for residents and emergency services crews in Innisfail and Ingham until all evacuation centres had closed. The teams were diverted to Tully.
In Townsville, some minor damage to the roof of The Salvation Army Riverway Recovery Mission was sustained. SAES teams there fed up to 150 people at the evacuation centres until power was restored and people could return home.
“A Toyota Trooper and SAES Trailer have also been deployed to Townsville for 4WD ability to reach remote communities with damaged roads,” said Major Walters.
“The relief effort has also moved to clean up, which we are doing in concert with the Townsville City Council,” said Major Bruce Harmer, Manager at the Recovery Mission. “They give us the addresses of the elderly or people with disabilities who need assistance and we go there and do what is needed,” he said.
The volunteers include residents from the Recovery Mission.
In Cairns, SAES teams fed emergency services crews and people at the evacuation centres. Minor damage was sustained to the front and back gates of The Salvation Army’s Centennial Lodge.
Envoy Simon Steele, Flying Padre for the Outback Flying Service, has been keeping in contact with those on rural properties between the coast and Mt Isa, and in the Gulf region, and providing help and support as required.
“Our teams and coordinators have and are providing incredible leadership and ministry in trying and difficult circumstances,” said Major Walters. “Capacities are stretched, faith tested, resources coming, and our Almighty God is providing sustaining grace and mercy in abundant measure.”
|Download the latest update from the ground in QLD.|
As the immediate emergency response of feeding and housing people affected by floods
concludes, The Salvation Army now has staff and centres available to assess people for the
following forms of assistance:
- Immediate small grants to purchase goods to restock food and pantry supplies
- Replacement of essential goods not covered by insurance.
- Access to specialised trauma counselling, pastoral care and support
- Access to financial counselling
Salvation Army Flood Response Centres have been established at Brisbane, Toowoomba,
Ipswich, Greenslopes, Bundamba, Dalby, Rockhampton, Emerald and Bundaberg.
Mobile outreach teams will also work from the centres, providing people with flexible access
to support, and reaching out to other flood and cyclone affected areas.
The Salvation Army flood response has been made possible through the generous support of
Woolworths and the Australian public to The Salvation Army Flood Appeal, which has now
raised over $21 million. “The Salvation Army is incredibly grateful to all who have supported
the Appeal, including Woolworths who has shown tremendous corporate leadership,” said
head of communications and public relations, Major Glenn Whittaker.
The Salvation Army is committed to remaining in these communities for as long as required.
As part of The Salvation Army’s Flood Relief response, The Salvation Army are now preparing to invite people whose homes have been affected by the devastating Queensland floods to apply for the following forms of assistance:
- An immediate small grant to purchase goods to restock food and pantry supplies
- Application for replacement of essential goods not covered by insurance
- Access to counselling
- Access to financial counselling
Assistance will be available from Salvation Army Flood Assistance Centres to be opened shortly throughout QLD.
For those requiring urgent crisis assistance, The Salvation Army will have staff available from Monday 7th February. To access this assistance, please call the Salvo Care Line on 1300 36 36 22.
OVERVIEW AT 18/1/2011 PM
More than 75 percent of Queensland has been affected by the current flood crisis. Victoria is now also facing one of its worst flood events in its history.
The Salvation Army has been on the ground in some of the worst affected areas of Qld, Vic and NSW, with Salvation Army Emergency Services (SAES) teams working tirelessly to feed volunteers, flood victims and SES workers, comfort the grieving and assist wherever is needed.
- Feeding around 700 people at the main evacuation centre at the RNA Showgrounds in north Brisbane
- Feeding similar numbers of people at the South side at the ANZ Stadium
- Many of these people will need to stay quite some time
- Also feeding around 150 people at Strathpine, north Brisbane.
Grantham – information to follow
- Catering support in city area (20-40 people) and south side of Gympie (around 20 people). Will also assist with clean-up and feeding of volunteers.
- SAES teams have been assisting at two of the four evacuation centres in Ipswich to feed and care for around 600 people.
- Many evacuees will need to stay after the waters recede until their homes are cleaned up and utilities restored. Some won’t be able to return to their homes.
- Majors Bruce and Margaret Dobbie from The Salvation Army in Ipswich had just returned from 11 days of relief work at flood-stricken Rockhampton when the floods hit their home town of Ipswich. They were there for the 1974 floods and are very aware it will be a long-term recovery.
- The Salvation Army fed stranded travellers and others.
- Salvation Army Captain, Mark Bulow, was in the city of Toowoomba when the devastating wall of water hit on 10 January.
- Mark and his wife, Jo-Anne, together with their SAES teams, have been helping with feeding the SES crews and assisting shop and business owners begin the cleanup process in the city.
- They have also been trying to comfort those who are frantically trying to make contact with friends and relatives. “We are spending time with a man whose wife and two of his children lost their lives as the flood waters swept away the car in which they were travelling. We are talking to him and his young son, and providing as much comfort as we can. Rural Chaplain, Major Bob Strong, has also called him and will keep in touch with him.”
- The Salvation Army sent a crew out to Condamine on Saturday 8 Jan to feed the community and help with cleanup in homes and schools and plan to go back with volunteer tradespeople, generators and power tools to help people secure their properties.
- Mark, who holds a pilot’s licence, plans to fly out to Surat, about four hours away, as soon as the weather clears to provide monetary assistance to those in need there.
- SAES teams are trying to get out to nearby Dalby where The Salvation Army Family Store is also flooded.
- In Toowoomba itself, The Salvation Army corps (church) building was flooded and the family store and crisis centre also received some water damage.
- The Salvation Army has been inundated with community people offering help, including physiotherapists, counsellors, and others who were willing to lend a hand.
- The Salvation Army in Warwick, together with the Lions Club, have been providing catering for about 50 people at the main evacuation centre.
- Two weeks ago, they catered for hundreds of people when many were stranded by floods while travelling over the Christmas period.
- Recovery assistance continues to be provided in Bundaberg.
- SAES crew in Theodore continues to feed around 400 people.
- The evacuation centre in Emerald is still operating with cleanups continuing and recovery assistance being provided.
- The Salvation Army continues to cater for around 200 people per meal in the evacuation centre in the Central Queensland University sports auditorium.
- The Salvation Army also runs activities for youth and children during the day.
- Rockhampton is still in the evacuation phase which means not all people are able to go back to their homes. The Salvation Army will continue feeding people until the last person has returned home.
- Will also begin moving into recovery – from feeding flood victims to feeding SES volunteers and crews from a mobile kitchen. This could last months.
- The Salvation Army in Grafton has been active in its emergency response, feeding a number of truck drivers who were temporarily stranded. SAES teams have also been preparing food parcels to go to outlying areas.
- A team of volunteers at the evacuation centre has been providing meals and refreshments to over 30 people.
- Fed stranded truck drivers at Coffs Harbour, 600 on one side of highway and 300 on other side.
- SAES teams fed 650 people at Boggabilla, and another 200 at a township 20km from there. These communities are south of Goondiwindi.
The Salvation Army is working closely with people affected including Horsham, Echuca, Creswick, Clunes, Ballarat, Bendigo, Maryborough, Stawell and Donald. The Salvation Army has already given financial support to people who are going through the recovery phase in Creswick.
Read the latest Media Release.
Salvation Army emergency services personnel have been working around the clock for a number of days in their relief effort to help tens of thousands of people impacted by an ‘unprecedented’ flood crisis in central and south-east Queensland. Expectations are that the worst is yet to come for many areas.
Dozens of cities and towns have been affected by the floods - the deluge continuing largely unabated since Christmas Eve – with some areas recording more than four times their average monthly rainfall for December.
A number of rivers have burst their banks, inundating town centres and leaving many smaller communities completely cut off. The floods already encompass an area larger than the combined size of France and Germany.
The level of rainfall has been phenomenal,’ said Central and North Queensland Divisional Commander Major Rodney Walters who has been helping to coordinate The Salvation Army’s relief effort from Divisional Headquarters in Rockhampton where residents are bracing for the worst floods in 20 years.
It’s been raining virtually non-stop for days on end and with many rivers still to reach their predicted peak the worst is yet to come in terms of flooding,’ he added.
More than 200,000 properties across Queensland are still without power – most of them in the Bundaberg region - with thousands of people being forced to evacuate their homes. It is expected that it will be at least several days before they will be allowed to return to their homes.
Other areas hard hit include Emerald - where up to 80 per cent of the city is inundated – and the communities of Gin Gin, Dalby, Theodore and Chinchilla.
Eight areas across southern and central Queensland are the subject of government disaster declarations with Queensland Premier Anna Bligh describing the floods as ‘an unprecedented situation in Queensland’.
In Rockhampton, The Salvation Army has been involved in feeding more than 1200 people at three evacuation centres in the city while also providing meals for dozens of volunteer and support staff.
Further west at Emerald - where the Nogoa River is expected to peak at 16.2 metres - and south at Bundaberg, more than 1400 people are being provided with meals by Salvation Army emergency services personnel.
The Salvation Army is also feeding more than 350 travellers at Gin Gin who have become stranded after all major roads in the area were cut off by floodwaters. Rail services have also been affected.
The emergency relief effort is being assisted by The Salvation Army Flying Padre helicopter service through the transportation of supplies to stricken communities over the vast area impacted by the flooding. The newly commissioned helicopter is also being used to rescue people trapped by the floods in dangerous.
‘The Salvation Army emergency services teams are providing care and feeding programmes to flood-evacuated people at a number of designated evacuation centres,’ said Central and North Queensland Divisional Communications and Public Relations Secretary Captain Megan Gallagher.
‘These emergency teams are mostly made up of Salvation Army volunteers who are also in some circumstances, themselves the victims of the floods.’
At Warwick, in south-east Queensland, The Salvation Army is involved in feeding more than 800 motorists who have become stranded in the city with all major roads in the area cut by floodwaters.
With river levels in many areas not forecast to peak until early next week, The Salvation Army is bracing for the relief effort to continue well into this new year.
November 2010 - K-Mart Wishing Tree Appeal
Hundreds of thousands of Australian’s in need this Christmas are once again hoping for some much needed festive cheer as the 23rd Kmart Wishing Tree Appeal launched nationally today.
Miss Australia 2007, Caroline Pemberton, was on hand at The Salvation Army’s OASIS youth centre in Sydney to officially launch this year’s Appeal.
As working families struggle with continued financial strain, The Salvation Army reports that one in ten Australians are living in poverty.
Major Peter Sutcliffe from The Salvation Army reiterated the need for Australians to give generously to the Appeal particularly since over 80,000 Australians needed the Salvo’s help for the first time last year.
“Our studies show that around half the country’s low income households are experiencing cash flow concerns. This forces some to take drastic measures such as increasing credit card debt, exhausting their savings and borrowing money off friends.
“With many Australians still finding it difficult to rebound from the effects of the global financial crisis, the pressures of this year’s Christmas may be felt most by those people who are in need for the first time,” said Major Sutcliffe.
Managing Director of Kmart, Mr Guy Russo said that in the short time he has been with the business he has been so humbled by the commitment of the Kmart team, The Salvation Army and Australia’s generous communities in ensuring that so many families don’t go without at Christmas time.
“Last year, despite what was arguably the toughest economic period this country has faced for quite some time, the response was overwhelming with 407,000 gifts donated.
For more information or to make a donation, simply visit www.kmart.com.au/wishingtree.
To view Major Peter Sutcliffe's appearance on the TODAY show, click here
September 2010 - Victorian Floods
With hundreds of homes affected by the worst floods Victoria has seen in 15 years, The Salvation Army has been on hand to provide support to affected communities at many relief centres across the state. Although the flood waters are receding in many areas, advice received from the State Emergency Service is that the threat has not passed and so our teams remain on stand-by.
We have been providing meals to people affected by the floods as well as to the volunteers assisting with the relief effort in the Creswick area. We have also responded to requests for emergency supplies of bedding and material aid at Euroa, Benalla and Wangaratta.
Our emergency services teams will remain on stand-by and ready to provide further assistance with meals, emergency supplies, accommodation assistance and practical support. We are aware that these severe floods have affected hundreds of Victorians and will remain responsive to meet community needs as they present.
September 2010 - New Zealand Canterbury Earthquake Appeal
The Salvation Army has launched an appeal to help those affected by a 7.1 magnitude earthquake (one of the largest ever recorded in New Zealand) that struck the South Island of New Zealand’s Canterbury region in early September. The city of Christchurch and surrounding areas close to the quake’s epicentre are now coming to grips with the devastation to buildings and infrastructure, especially water, as well as a huge repair bill, estimated to be as high as two billion NZ dollars.
Within hours of the disaster, The Salvation Army was asked to feed around 1000 people in at least two Christchurch locations, and also responded to needs in Christchurch’s suburbs and in a number of rural areas. The Salvation Army is currently feeding people around 100 people overnight at each of three relief centres-- Linwood and Burnside High Schools and the Addington Race Course. Meals are also being served to a large number of emergency services and welfare support personnel.
Major Rex Cross, local Salvation Army emergency services coordinator, speaking from Linwood High School, said that if weather conditions worsened then the number of people presenting at the city’s relief centres is likely to swell. National fundraising coordinator Major Robbie Ross says, “New Zealanders are reeling from the disaster that struck Christchurch this weekend. Not since the 1930s have we experienced an earthquake as severe and it is important that we do everything we can to help.”
On Monday 13 September, The Salvation Army in Australia also sent the first of three critical incident debriefing teams to New Zealand to support The Salvation Army’s response in Christchurch. Read media release - Australian Salvos mobilise to provide NZ earthquake support.
August 2010 - Pakistan Flood Relief
Large-scale floods across Pakistan have affected 14million people and left many homeless and families without basic necessities. The Salvation Army in Pakistan is responding to this heart-breaking disaster in any way they can.
As the situation develops, we will provide updates from our International Headquarters. You can help the relief effort by donating online.
Latest updates from our International Headquarters
August 17 - Salvation Army Provides Aid to Further Three Hundred Families in Pakistan
THE Salvation Army in Pakistan continued its initial response to the floods that have are now thought to have affected 20 million people by distributing bedding and cooking utensil packs to 300 families in Charsada. An assessment team visited Charsada a week earlier and discovered that the floods had devastated the town, wrecking homes and businesses.
The distribution team included Lieut-Colonel Yousaf Ghulam (Chief Secretary of the Salvation Army's Pakistan Territory) and Lieut-Colonel Rebecca Yousaf (Territorial Secretary for Women's Ministries).
The first distribution, to 100 families, took place at Charsada Bible Church. Lieut-Colonel Ghulam spoke to community members, offering sympathy.
The Bishop of Peshawar arrived during the distribution and thanked The Salvation Army for its work. Members of the local media were also present and asked many questions about The Salvation Army.
The next distribution was in a hujra (an annex to a main building) in Charsada for two hundred Muslim families. There was a large crowd of people already gathered when the team arrived but the proceedings went smoothly. The chief secretary gave a short message for the community and the bishop offered words of comfort. Local Member of the Provincial Assembly (MPA) Mr Javed Prince added a few words of sympathy for the community.
One of the recipients in Charsada was Noor Ali, a student. He told the Salvation Army team that his family fled their home when the waters began to rise. When they returned home the house was full of water.
He said: 'We are determined to face this big challenge. We will do hard work to reconstruct our houses. At the moment we are having problems but we are brave and we can fight.'
Imran Azm, a policeman who works in Peshawar, collected supplies for his parents. He told team members that he is determined to provide for his family.
Both Noor and Imran expressed their gratitude for what they described as a 'token of love' given by The Salvation Army.
The next day, the team visited Academy Town Corps (Salvation Army church) to meet affected families. Assessment visits were also made to Nowshera, Pabi, Jahangia and Aza khail, all communities near the River Kabul.
In Aza khail the team saw people in desperate need. The community of around 15,000 people was near to the river and its houses were washed away. The people who remain explained that many bodies have yet to be found because they were swept away by the flood or buried under rubble.
The community members asked for tents to provide shelter. The Salvation Army is putting together funds so it can look to buy a large number of tents that will begin to address some of the people's most urgent needs.
Adapted from a report by Captain Imran Sabir
August 11 - Salvation Army in Pakistan Starts Distribution Program
The Salvation Army in Pakistan has distributed relief packages to 150 families affected by the flooding that continues to cause misery across a large region of the country. The packages consist of a mattress, quilts, pillows and a set of kitchen utensils.
The distribution took place in a health centre run by the Church of Pakistan in Risalpur, about 36 miles from Peshawar in north-west Pakistan. The packs were given to Christian, Muslim and Hindu families sheltering in St Mary's and St Joseph's school.
Captain Washington Daniel (Divisional Commander of The Salvation Army's Islamabad Division) reports: 'Our team unloaded the trucks with the local volunteers. We all worked as a team with duties allocated. Pastors from the Church of Pakistan and St Mary’s school principal helped us check the identification of the affected people against the registered list.'
The local Member of the Provincial Assembly (MPA) Mr Javed Prince visited the centre. Captain Daniel says the MPA and his team were 'pleased to see the distribution and gave appreciation to The Salvation Army'. They also made arrangements to ensure the Salvation Army team's ongoing safety.
The distribution had to finish earlier than planned because of heavy rain but the rest of the 200 packages should be given out today (11 August) and plans are in place to distribute packs to a further 300 families in Charsada on Saturday 14 August. This will depend on the necessary security arrangements being put in place.
The bedding materials are being sourced in Peshawar to keep delivery costs down and the kitchen utensil packages are being put together by staff and young people at The Salvation Army's Pakistan Territorial Headquarters in Lahore. The ongoing floods are causing power cuts and transport problems which mean that supplies of vital goods can be sporadic at best!
August 10 - Salvation Army Assessors in Pakistan Seek to Help People Who 'Have No Hope'
The Salvation Army in Pakistan continues to put in place preparations for a large-scale response to the floods that have affected more than 14 million people.
Andrew Lee, Chief Accountant for The Salvation Army in Pakistan, is a member of the assessment team that is looking to see where The Salvation Army's help is most urgently needed.
He writes that one of the first places the team went to was a relief camp at St Mary’s school in Risalapur. About 120 families are living in the shelter that has been set up in the school, predominantly Christians but also including Muslims and Hindus. Most have come from Syce Mandi where the houses were totally destroyed.
'I saw a lot of sad and depressed faces,' he says. 'Talking to some of the people there is no sense of hope at all. I felt desolate myself and, feeling the need to do something, we came back later with a box of milk powder (there is a shortage of some food items) and sweets, which seemed to cheer people up. It’s a token gesture, I know, but for me it was worth it seeing their faces brighten for a little bit.
'The next stop was a visit to another school housing about 30 families in Nowshera. Here we met the OM medical organisation that has been going to various relief camps with medicines and vaccinations. It is great to see the various organisations contributing to help the millions of people affected.
'While the heavy rains continued I talked to three widows with quite a few children living in one of the classrooms. More sadness and hopelessness was being expressed by them. Because they do not have husbands to earn a living and having lost all their possessions, there is little chance of rebuilding their lives without assistance.
'We headed into Charsadda, where refugees had pitched tents along the roads. Trucks carrying flat bread (chapattis) were being mobbed and people started fighting to get closer (cars were also mobbed when they stopped to help). Going into the main town, we were guided through the back streets toward the river bank and shown a few damaged houses.'
The team then headed towards the river, where the worst of the flooding had taken place. Andrew says: 'At times the mud was so thick that our boots were stuck. As I walked along the streets, residents still living in their badly damaged homes were surprised to see me. During translated conversations with the locals, it seems that no officials or non-governmental organisations (NGOs) had come this way in the past nine days. I was the first to visit them and again I felt sad that I could not at this time give any assistance except by being there.
'A father was carrying two children through the knee high water and his daughter let slip one of her shoes. As it floated, I managed to retrieve it and put it back on. A small random act of kindness put a smile on a few faces.
'Coming within about 30 metres of the river, we finally had to stop as the water level was rising again. As I made my way through flooded alleyways, houses were either collapsed or full of mud or badly damaged. One owner showed me his two-storey house, and told me the waters had reached the second floor. His family sat on the edge of the roofing for about two days until the waters receded, fearing that the house would collapse and they would be thrown into the street. All their possessions were damaged by mud and water.
'I feel sad that the flood has affected 14 million people and I guess upset that I can’t be more helpful. Realistically we can’t help every single one of them. With what resources we have, we will try to help as much as possible in coordination with the government and the various NGOs. Although those I talk to have no hope, I think maybe that, with goodwill and neighbourly cooperation, Pakistanis can rebuild their lives.'
Captain Washington Daniel (leader of The Salvation Army's Islamabad Division) adds: 'We met with the Bishop of Peshawar's team and they welcomed us. They are very thankful for The Salvation Army's visit and our cooperation. In this meeting we discussed how we can help the people who have lost so much.
'They gave us a list of people in different areas in order to avoid duplication in the distribution of assistance. I said that The Salvation Army will attempt to provide utensils (pots, pans, dishes), quilts, pillows, foam mattresses and gas cylinder burners. We have identified 3,000 families in need of assistance from the list we were given.'
The captain also met with a government representative, who offered his support.
Salvation Army Haiti Divisional Commander Major Lucien Lamartiniere (left) speaks with Disaster Services Director Bob Poff (right).
January 2010 - Haiti earthquake disaster response
In the aftermath of a devastating magnitude-7 earthquake that shook the country of Haiti recently, all but destroying the city of Port au Prince, The Salvation Army is doing all it can to assist locals who have been affected.
Salvation Army personnel are active on the ground in Haiti with staff and volunteers providing shelter, meals, clean water and other assistance as needed.
The Salvation Army in Australia has launched a Haiti Earthquake Appeal and you can donate online by clicking the link below. 100% of all donations will be going directly to fund The Salvation Army work being carried out in Haiti.
Here are some key downloads and links:
- Latest media release
- Information bulletin at 14 Jan 2010 - The Salvation Army response
- Fact sheet - The Salvation Army in Haiti
- Donate to The Salvation Army Haiti Earthquake Appeal
- Our Haiti updates page on Facebook
For more information and ongoing updates, here are some useful links:
- The Salvation Army Haiti website
- The Salvation Army Caribbean Territory (includes Haiti)
- The Salvation Army Canada (including video updates)
- The Salvation Army USA
- The Salvation Army International Headquarters
View video interviews:
- Interview with Bob Poff, The Salvation Army Emergency Disaster Services Director, Haiti
- Interview with Major Busroe, The Salvation Army USA
Listen to audio interviews: