The Salvation Army’s earthquake response is underway, and officers and volunteers are already feeding and caring for Canterbury residents displaced by yesterday’s 6.3 magnitude earthquake.
Salvation Army teams from its three North Island divisions, along with teams from the South Island corps of Mosgiel and Queenstown, comprising 50 people, are on the way to Christchurch. Other teams across the South Island are on stand-by.
Last night, Salvation Army volunteers served 1500 meals to those unable to go back to their homes and staff provided support at emergency welfare centres.
Damage to Southern Division Headquarters, as well as the Christchurch City Community Ministries centre and Christchurch City Corps, has meant a temporary operations centre to oversee recovery work has been set up at Sydenham Corps. Southern Division and Territorial Headquarters (THQ) staff from Wellington are now assessing the situation across the affected area to determine the exact nature of the Army’s response. With mobile communications in the region patchy at present, communications equipment, including radios, satellite phones and computers, is being transported from THQ to Sydenham.
Linwood Corps and Community Ministries, which has shouldered a large part The Salvation Army’s recovery work since the September quake, suffered mainly superficial damage. Its officers, staff and volunteers are preparing for a steep increase in demand. Christchurch City Community Ministries centre will not reopen in the immediate future due to quake damage and its staff are being redeployed to Linwood.
Salvation Army coordinator of the recovery effort, Major Campbell Roberts, says the quake is a tragedy beyond description, but the Army’s experience since September and the morale of officers and volunteers puts it in good stead to respond effectively.
Salvation Army teams are at Wellington and Auckland airports to meet hundreds of people who have been evacuated from the quake zone, offering support and light refreshments.
Minister of Social Development, Paula Bennett, contacted The Salvation Army today requesting support for affected residents.
The Salvation Army re-launched its Canterbury Earthquake Appeal yesterday. There has been a strong response from the public and from potential corporate donors. The Salvation Army USA Western Territory is donating $US 200,000 to assist with The Salvation Army's earthquake recovery efforts. The Salvation Army Australia Southern Territory is donating $AU 50,000.
Large and small-scale fundraising is being organised around the country. An international track meet scheduled for Christchurch this weekend was cancelled after the quake. Athletes now plan to stage a fundraising track meet in Wellington to support The Salvation Army’s Earthquake Appeal. Beijing 1500m medallist Nick Willis will be presented with his Olympic Silver medal at the fundraising event.
General Shaw Clifton, New Zealand, Fiji and Tonga Territorial Commander from 2002 to 2004, informed Commissioner Don Bell that IHQ’s prayers were with the victims of yesterday’s earthquake. ‘We are shocked, unhappy and downcast to hear overnight of a further quake in lovely Christchurch. We stand with you and your people in what you will to do offer relief.'
Please specify that your donation is for the ‘Canterbury Earthquake Appeal’