Lutz, Fla. (Jan. 11, 2011) – Almost a year after the deadly, 7.0 earthquake struck Haiti, The Salvation Army continues to send valuable resources and donations to the island nation.
Teams from The Salvation Army’s emergency disaster services department were sent immediately to help set up a supply line from the United States to Haiti.
Kevin Smith, The Salvation Army of Florida’s emergency disaster services director, helped lead the team which included Salvation Army officers (pastors) and staff.
For Kevin and his team, it was a life-changing experience.
“This event shook me to the core,” he said. “The earthquake showed me need on a scale that I had never seen before. There was hunger beyond our imagination the day before the earthquake struck and this tragic event only exacerbated those circumstances.”
Smith was in Haiti for 10 days. He was part of a strike team that helped ensure The Salvation Army’s ability to locally support international aid.
He also worked with the US Embassy to support coordination with USAID and other domestic response organizations.
“I saw resolve that overwhelmed my spirit,” he said. “We have so much to be thankful for, and this disaster taught me that like no other.”
During the past 12 months, The Salvation Army has provided the following services to the residents of Haiti:
· 7.9 million meals
· 1.5 million gallons of fresh water
· 83,000 mosquito nets · 27,000 clinic visits
· 8,100 cleaning kits
· 7,100 personal hygiene kits
· 4,000 tarps
· 4,000 solar lights
· More than 5,000 tents
· 606 transitional shelters
To date, The Salvation Army has raised $29 million in domestic resources and $10.8 million through international affiliates. Fifty percent of the money has already been utilized on immediate response efforts. The remaining funding will be allocated to long-term recovery projects. The attached fact sheet also gives more information.
Capt. Albert Cancia, a Salvation Army officer of Haitian descent now stationed in West Palm Beach, said the need in his country has been overwhelming. Cancia was in Port-au-Prince for more than two weeks working with the United Nations ensuring security during transportation and distribution of relief supplies
During his time, he learned about the generosity of strangers and the strength of the human spirit.
“There was so much work to do upon arrival and I knew we must begin immediately,” he said. “We began by simply feeding their spirits and before you knew it, those whom suffered such devastation were assisting us with every aspect of recovery from the disaster."
Along with short-term programs, The Salvation Army continues to help Haiti long-term with school repair and construction, integrated family support, primary healthcare clinic, community capacity development, psychological and social support for children and adolescents, vulnerable children support, temporary classrooms for College Verena, emotional and spiritual support for women and managing an internally displaced persons camp.
Other members of The Salvation Army Florida disaster team who traveled to Haiti are Captains Louna and Pierre Smith (Naples), Major Thomas Louden (Fort Myers), Capt. Albert Cancia (West Palm Beach) and Kevin Smith (Tampa).