10 Jul | 2013
Following the crash-landing of an Asiana Airlines Boeing 777 at San Francisco International Airport, USA, on Saturday 6 July, The Salvation Army has had a key supporting role in providing help to responders, survivors and affected families. Flight 214, en route from the South Korean capital Seoul, suffered significant damage on impact. The incident killed two people and injured nearly 200 others.
Salvation Army teams from around the Greater San Francisco area were called upon to provide translation support and emotional care both at the airport and the hospitals where survivors were taken. The Salvation Army will continue to support this effort in close coordination with the National Transportation Safety Board and local, state and federal authorities to determine how best to meet the evolving needs of passengers and their families.
In addition to facilitating conversation with government officials, Salvation Army volunteers are offering emotional support and providing Korean, Cantonese and Mandarin translation for ease in communication. This includes accompanying passengers to hospital and optometry visits to help care for basic health needs, such as replacing prescription spectacles.
‘Serving as language support is a unique role for a Salvation Army Disaster Services team,’ explains Major Wayne Froderberg, local Disaster Coordinator for The Salvation Army. ‘However, the opportunity demonstrates our ability to provide compassion and aid in more than one language.’
On Sunday, The Salvation Army set up a special clothing room as part of a Family Assistance Centre, created to help assess and meet the immediate needs of Flight 214 passengers. The Family Assistance Centre – organised by local, state and federal officials and other cooperating agencies – is at an undisclosed location to preserve the privacy of the passengers and their families.
The clothing room allows passengers to hand-select clothing items and basic essentials to provide comfort while they are housed in the Bay Area. The room is stocked with brand-new shirts, slacks, sweaters, sweatshirts, socks, undergarments and basic hygiene items such as deodorant, shaving items and toothpaste. In addition, The Salvation Army has made arrangements to supply luggage for passengers to help manage their belongings. Clothing and items are also available for children and young people, in addition to toys and games to help ease the tension of this stressful situation.
‘New underwear, socks and hygiene kits are a luxury when you have lost everything,’ said Claire Dunmore, Program Coordinator for The Salvation Army. ‘What a privilege to be able to provide such basic supplies and know that comfort and relief has been given to so many families and children. We hope some clean clothes and a quiet place to rest will bring some comfort to these individuals who have had a very difficult 48 hours.’
Lieut-Colonel Stephen Smith, Divisional Commander for The Salvation Army’s Golden State Division, called Salvationists and friends to prayer. ‘The Salvation Army is deeply saddened by this tragic event,' he said. 'Please continue to pray for everyone affected by this crash.’
For more updates on The Salvation Army’s response to the Asiana Flight 214 crash, visit TSAGoldenState.org, Facebook.com/SalvationArmySF or follow The Salvation Army of San Francisco on Twitter at @SalvationArmySF