Five weeks after a devastating earthquake destroyed large parts of the island nation of Haiti, The Salvation Army is continuing to serve thousands of disaster survivors on-the-ground in Port Au Prince and elsewhere. Since the quake impacted on January 12, The Salvation Army has been working closely with multiple corporate partners and non-governmental organizations to provide food, water, medicine, shelter and other immediate aid. To date, international Salvation Army emergency response teams, along with the nearly 700 personnel permanently stationed in Haiti, have provided more than 2.8 million meals, 500,000 gallons of water, 2,900 tents and 1,500 personal hygiene kits. In addition, more than 18,000 people have received needed care from Salvation Army medical teams.
As this immediate recovery work continues, The Salvation Army, which has operated schools and other programs in Haiti since 1950, is beginning to plan for needed long-term recovery to provide permanent solutions and programs to those in need. Specific long-term plans include:
- · Rebuilding homes to make them more earthquake resistant
· Repairing and installing water filtration systems in impacted areas
· Rebuilding schools, hospitals and other buildings that were severely damaged
· Implementing community development projects focusing on income generation for families, childhood nutrition and HIV-AIDS awareness
“Just as The Salvation Army has provided critical supplies of water, food and medicine to the people of Haiti, we are equally committed to determining the best methods for helping rebuild a country that lost so much,” said Lt. Col. Dan Starrett, Executive Director of The Salvation Army World Service Office (SAWSO). “As we have done for countless disasters from Hurricane Katrina to the Indian Ocean tsunami, The Salvation Army will commit to a plan that strengthens Haiti for the long-term.”
Since the earthquake, The Salvation Army has worked with shipping companies FedEx, UPS and DHL for logistical support – delivering 821,500 pounds of emergency relief supplies, including more than 2 million meals provided by international hunger relief organization Numana, Inc., for an estimated 20,000 earthquake survivors living near the Army’s compound in Port-au-Prince.
Through the use of FedEx’s Custom Critical System, which offers 24/7 delivery service throughout the United States and internationally, food was delivered to a Salvation Army staging area in Miami from any city in the country. Food was delivered by FedEx in less than 36 hours, due to the company’s use of two drivers in one truck driving nonstop.
From Miami, UPS flew supplies for Salvation Army relief teams to Port-au-Prince or, in some cases, to Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. Supplies were then delivered by truck from Santo Domingo into the affected city of Port-au-Prince.
Following the delivery of supplies in Port-au-Prince, DHL provided storage space for Salvation Army supplies at the Port-au-Prince airport. DHL also allowed The Salvation Army to use much needed fuel for delivery vehicles.
“It’s impossible to over-state the value these companies have supplied to The Salvation Army, allowing the people of Haiti to receive life-saving food and supplies,” said Lt. Col. Starrett. “Without the assistance of Fed Ex, UPS and DHL, we would not be where we are now in the process of developing long-term recovery plans for Haiti.”
The Salvation Army has been coordinating services with other relief organizations as the lead agency for the United Nations in the community surrounding its main compound in the Saint Martin neighborhood in Port-au-Prince. A tent city in a soccer stadium near the compound has become the temporary home for nearly 20,000 individuals. At the compound, the Army has registered families so that appropriate aid supplies can be ordered and distributed, established a water purification system which provides 30,000 gallons of water daily, and re-opened an elementary school for 100 children aged three to six years.
Recognizing safety concerns at the camps, Salvation Army food rations are printed with a warning, written in both English and Creole, against human trafficking. Recipients are instructed to beware of people who are offering jobs in foreign countries and those who are offering money, food, shelter, or drugs in exchange for sex. Additionally, as a deterrent to gender based violence, the Army’s stadium generator has been repaired in order for it to be operational during key times of the evening. A security team, equipped with flashlights and high visibility vests, conducts day and night patrols.
“We have been extremely fortunate that no known acts of violence have occurred at our camp in Port-au-Prince,” added Lt. Col. Starrett. “But, we are committed to ensuring that safety and order is maintained as we continue to meet needs.”
The Salvation Army has also established service sites in Petit Goave and Jacmel and distribution sites in Croix-des-Bouquets (6 miles east of Port-au-Prince) and Balan (18 miles east of Port-au-Prince). Its medical clinic continues to treat more than 250 people a day on-site, with several transfers daily to the hospital.
To assist in this effort, the public may contribute to The Salvation Army’s “Haiti Earthquake” fund. Donors may contribute $10 via their phone bill by text messaging the word “HAITI” to 52000, and confirming the donation with the word, “Yes.” Also, donors may give via http://donate.salvationarmyusa.org, 1-800-SAL-ARMY and through the mail at: The Salvation Army, Haiti Disaster Relief, PO Box 80066, Prescott, AZ. 86304-8066 with designation “Haiti Earthquake.” To date, more than $10.8 million has been donated to The Salvation Army’s relief effort in Haiti.
In Haiti, The Salvation Army operates schools, clinics, a hospital, feeding programs, children’s homes and church-related activities through some 60 Corps community centers across the country. One Salvation Army facility, or compound, includes a home for more than 50 children; a school with a daily attendance of 1,500 children; a medical clinic caring for 150-200 people daily; and a church that on any typical Sunday welcomes nearly 1,000 people. The facility is less than 10 minutes from the National Palace and is in an area known as St. Martin that is home to predominantly poor living in the nation’s capital.