GENEROUS donations and tireless volunteers are allowing The Salvation Army in Mexico to respond to disasters across the country after Mexico was hit by two major earthquakes and a hurricane within less than two weeks.
In early September, after receiving warnings about the damage likely to be caused by Hurricane Katia, The Salvation Army sent two canteens to Veracruz. However, before the hurricane could make landfall an earthquake measuring 8.1 magnitude on the Richter scale struck off the south coast of Mexico on 7 September, causing extensive damage in Oaxaca state.
THE Coca-Cola Foundation is providing US$1 million to The Salvation Army to help provide immediate resources for food and shelter in areas impacted by Hurricanes Irma and Maria across the Caribbean, including Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands. According to a report on coca-colacompany.com, 'In addition to financial contributions, The Coca-Cola Company and local bottling partners continue to support relief efforts by providing donations of food, beverages and building materials to communities impacted by these devastating natural disasters.'
CATEGORY 5-rated Hurricane Maria is passing through a swathe of Caribbean islands, many of which had already been severely damaged by Hurricane Irma. The storm, with wind speeds of 160 mph (260 kmh) has made landfall in Dominica, and is threatening catastrophic damage and storm surges in its wake. At present, the track of the storm means that the Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico and the Turks and Caicos islands are most at risk.
SALVATION Army emergency responders in Bangladesh are providing practical and emotional support to people affected by flooding in Jessore District. Across the country, an estimated eight million people have been affected by floods, with at least 145 killed.
The South Western District brought together a 12-member rapid-response team, coordinated by the district officer. The team has formed links with local government representatives and met with the Deputy Commissioner of Khulna and Jessore.
HURRICANE Irma has caused devastation in parts of the Caribbean, rendering the island of Barbuda ‘barely habitable’ according to Prime Minister Gaston Browne. The Salvation Army on nearby Antigua is working with the government to provide emergency food supplies to evacuees who have fled the neighbouring island.
THE Salvation Army in Sierra Leone is responding after torrential rains in the capital, Freetown, caused significant floods and devastating landslides. According to the latest reports, almost 400 people are known to have lost their lives – most in a landslide that buried houses in the Regent neighbourhood – and at least 600 are missing. The country's Office of National Security estimates that more than 3,000 people have lost their homes.
The Salvation Army in South America is responding after severe flooding hit communities in Argentina, Brazil and Uruguay, with the Uruguay River – some of which marks the borders between the countries – rising up to 14 metres and breaching its banks in many places.
In Brazil, more than 1,600 people were affected in the municipality of Uruguaiana. The last severe flood was in 1982, so people are not used to dealing with this situation.
THE Salvation Army in The Philippines is providing support to people forced from their homes by terrorist groups known as Maute and Abu Sayyaf, which has links to Daesh. A priest and several churchgoers have been taken hostage by fighters in Marawi City, on the Philippine island of Mindanao, and thousands of residents have fled.
DROUGHT and crop failure in different parts of Africa – particularly in East Africa – is causing a ‘humanitarian crisis of staggering proportions’, according to The Salvation Army’s world leader General André Cox. The international church and charity’s response to the widespread famine is focused initially in northern Kenya, where the country’s president has declared a national disaster in 23 counties.
The two Salvation Army territories in Kenya are joining together to put in place plans to cope with any disturbances that could follow this year's general election. The 2007-8 election led to many outbreaks of violence, catching the government and humanitarian agencies by surprise, with many unable to provide assistance to people seeking refuge.
THE Salvation Army in Mozambique is responding to the first cyclone to make landfall in the country in a decade. Tropical Cyclone Dineo struck the coastal province of Inhambane in mid-February before moving along the coast to the capital, Maputo. Gusts in excess of 180 kilometres per hour left eight people dead and caused destruction to homes and infrastructure.
IN RESPONSE to heavy rain that has led to flooding and mudslides in areas around the Peruvian capital, Lima, The Salvation Army, in liaison with local authorities, has commenced emergency relief in the Chosica and Santa Eulalia communities. The national government has declared a state of emergency in a number of provinces after severe damage to infrastructure which is affecting thousands of people. It is known that at least 20 people have lost their lives.
WHEN Hurricane Matthew swept across the Caribbean in early October 2016, it caused huge devastation across Haiti – particularly in the south of the country. Around 2.1 million people were affected, with 1.4 million people needing humanitarian assistance of whom more than 800,000 required urgent food assistance. The Salvation Army in Haiti reacted quickly, providing cooked meals for several days for 800 people in emergency shelters. This was quickly followed by the provision of rice, beans, oil and corn to approximately 4,000 people.
FRENCH authorities have turned to The Salvation Army to provide assistance to refugees seeking to build a new life in Europe. Long-term programmes have been joined by emergency care provision in a number of places, with Salvation Army teams helping to look after some of the thousands of people now being resettled across France after being removed from the infamous 'Jungle' camp in Calais.
WHEN Hurricane Matthew caused massive damage across Haiti in the first week of October, the neighbouring country of Dominican Republic was also affected. The Salvation Army is responding to flooding caused when heavy rains from the hurricane and subsequent storms led to the Moca River overflowing. Almost 50 homes were destroyed in Espaillat Province, with a further 300 houses being damaged. The flooding also led to businesses being lost, with farmers particularly badly hit.
THE Salvation Army in Italy is making plans to respond to the earthquake on 24 August that brought devastation to the area around the towns of Amatrice, Accumoli and Pescara del Tronto, about 150 kilometres north-east of Rome. At least 240 people are known to have been killed in the quake, with many more yet to be accounted for.
There is not a Salvation Army corps (church) in the vicinity, but consideration is being given as to how best to assist people who have lost everything.
THE Salvation Army in Ecuador is responding to the 7.8-magnitude earthquake that struck the country's north-west coast. At least 350 people are known to have lost their lives but President Rafael Correa says that number is likely to rise. It is the worst disaster in Ecuador since a 1949 earthquake that killed more than 5,000 people.
GUN battles on the streets of Brazzaville – the capital city of the Republic of Congo – have forced residents to flee their homes to find emergency shelter. At one point on Tuesday morning, nearly 10,000 displaced Congolese people were seeking safe refuge at The Salvation Army’s corps (church) compound in the central Moungali area of the city.
CATEGORY 5 storm Winston caused devastation in parts of the Pacific nation of Fiji overnight on Saturday 20 February 2016. With wind speeds exceeding 200 miles per hour and waves of up to 12 metres, Cyclone Winston was one of the most severe weather systems ever to hit the southern hemisphere. At least 20 people were killed, power and communications disrupted and thousands of people moved to evacuation centres.
THE Salvation Army is supporting people affected by the 6.4 magnitude earthquake which struck the island of Taiwan in the early hours of Saturday 6 February 2016. The quake, which had its epicentre close to the southern city of Tainan, has caused several buildings to collapse and interrupted power and water supplies. Many Taiwanese people had travelled to the city this weekend ahead of Monday’s Chinese New Year celebrations, swelling the numbers involved. Media reports suggest that 26 people died and 500 were hurt, although the number of deaths is expected to rise.