New Life Brings Hope Amidst Agony and Misery in Haiti

by John McAlister
Categories: Feature, Newswire
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salvationarmy_haiti_10In the second most dangerous, and one of the poorest areas in Port-au-Prince, survivors are flooding into Salvation Army facilities, also known as compounds, for food, water, shelter and medical aid. The Salvation Army has had a presence in Haiti since 1950 and its 700 personnel, who were affected by the earthquake, are now working to assist others in need. They are now being supported by international team members who have experience in working in disaster relief situations.

The Salvation Army is working in what is considered to be one of the most dangerous areas in Port-au-Prince. For security reasons the press have been warned by local authorities to keep clear. This has meant that The Salvation Army has had little coverage in the international media reports from Haiti.

The Salvation Army has had a ministry in St Martin for 60 years and the movement is well respected and appreciated. The compound includes administration buildings, churches, a school, children’s home, a feeding programme and a medical clinic. Many of the buildings were badly damaged and some rendered completely unusable by the earthquake. Nevertheless, the area is being well used to coordinate the emergency response, food distribution, medical services and general care and support of local people.

The Salvation Army clinic is running over its capacity due to the many people in need of medical attention and aftercare. The clinic is on the same compound as the distribution and feeding centre.




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Lt-Colonel Lindsay Rowe, (Chief Secretary, Caribbean Territory) says:

“It is amazing how well things were organized in such a short time. Immediately after the earthquake the clinic began functioning as a triage station. A medical team from the USA was able to set up two surgical rooms for major injuries. There are eight doctors working at the clinic and the team treated more than 200 patients on Monday (18 January) and approximately 300 patients on Tuesday. Unfortunately they are running short on supplies.”

“Yet, in the midst of all the chaos and confusion of a disaster area, the clinic staff are rejoicing in the birth of three babies this week,” says Lt-Colonel Mike Caffull, The Salvation Army’s International Emergency Services Coordinator from International Headquarters, London, who is on site assisting with the organization of The Salvation Army’s response.

“In a place where there has been so much death and pain,’ he says, “it is wonderful to see the evidence of new life.” 

A large sports ground immediately behind The Salvation Army compound is home to almost 12,000 people, who are gradually creating family spaces. It is very cramped and without essential services. This community is the main focus of the response coordinated by The Salvation Army in Port-au-Prince, although plans are being made for satellite operations in other towns and cities.



To date the team at the compound has distributed food for up to 18,000 people, organized drinking water to be available in the sports field, given out clothing and provided tents.