Hurricanes have been working non-stop in Southern United States and most recently in the Caribbean, but so has The Salvation Army, which has been keeping up with the victims’ needs every step of the way.
The Salvation Army has been working at capacity to help people in the Caribbean who have been affected by Hurricane Ivan, reported Colonel John Matear, Territorial Commander for the Caribbean.
Although Mateur is currently in London and unable to fly since he is recovering from surgery, he keeps in regular contact with his teams.
Early last month, The Salvation Army mobilized hundreds of volunteers and personnel to respond to Hurricane Charley, which caused extensive damage in Central Florida. A little over a week ago, the ministry sent more teams to Florida and surrounding states after Hurricane Frances had its way. And just when volunteers and staff thought they could shift their focus to long-term needs of victims, Hurricane Ivan soon followed at the end of last week.
Hurricane Ivan, which had winds as high as 150 mph, has left many people in the Caribbean homeless, including many of the Salvation Army staff on Grenada. Ninety-percent of buildings on the island were destroyed, reported AFP, and 5,000-8,000 of the island’s 100,000 inhabitants still living in shelters.
Colonel Matear reports that all Salvation Army personnel on the island are safe.
The divisional headquarters in Trindad has sent food and water for distribution through a container heading to Grenada. The commander and secretary of The Salvation Army's Trindad and Tobago Division have been unsuccessful reaching Grenada but once there, they will assess the needs to determine the next step of action.
The Antigua and Barbados chapters plan to send personnel to Grenada to help with food distribution while territorial headquarters in Kingston, Jamaica, is standing by.
The Salvation Army has also been preparing to distribute food parcels to people in rural Jamaica, which will be hard to reach due to flooding. During the hurricane, many people sought shelter in Salvation Army halls but have now returned to their homes. Similar to the organization’s efforts in Florida when the hurricanes cut off electricity, Salvation Army teams gave out prepared meals to the victims. A thousand meals were distributed on Saturday and 500 on Sunday.
Meanwhile, Salvation Army personnel are aiding victims of Hurricane Frances in the Bahamas, distributing food and clean water.
Hurricane Ivan remains strong, hitting Cuba Monday morning and setting a path toward Florida where it is expected to make landfall.
The Salvation Army requests financial support for immediate and long-term needs. Contributions may be directed to http://www.1800salarmy.org 1-800-SAL-ARMY (725-2769), or any local Salvation Army office, marked "Disaster Relief."