Alexandria, Virginia (August 26, 2011) – In advance of Hurricane Irene, Commissioner William Roberts, the National Commander of The Salvation Army, today declared a national disaster, which puts all units on alert status throughout the United States. All divisions of The Salvation Army stand ready to assist by preparing staff, equipment and supplies to support impacted areas along the East Coast. The Salvation Army will provide food, drinks and spiritual and emotional care to emergency responders and survivors in impacted areas between the Carolinas and New England.
“While it is customary to declare such an event a ‘national’ disaster after the hurricane has reached land, I am taking the step to make that declaration today in consideration of various logistical decisions that must be made,” said Commissioner Roberts. “As The Salvation Army now moves into strategic positions that will put us directly at the point of need, we are praying for God’s mercy upon all of those who will be caught in the direct path of this very large storm.”
The Salvation Army has already begun to serve those affected by Hurricane Irene in Puerto Rico by providing support to the homeless, sick and disabled. Nearly 800,000 residents of Puerto Rico are without power and Salvation Army shelters continue to be available in Puerto Rico, St. Thomas and St. Croix . In the Bahamas, an emergency operations center has been established in Kingston. The Salvation Army has begun initial distribution of food and water supplies. There is also a plan in place to ship Meals Ready to Eat (MREs) and bottled water to the Turks and Caicos later this week.
Salvation Army locations across the United States have mobile feeding units on standby – these units are able to provide hundreds of thousands of meals per day if needed. In the Carolinas specifically, the Army has 30 mobile canteens able to provide in excess of 45,000 meals when operating at full capacity. An Incident Command Team has been established in Charlotte, NC and will deploy to the Carolina coast once the storm passes.
The Salvation Army is asking residents of the entire East Coast, from the Carolinas to New England, to be prepared with an emergency disaster plan and heed all evacuation orders from public officials. Critical decisions need to be made ahead of time, before the storm makes landfall.
The most critical need right now is for monetary donations, which can be made online at www.SalvationArmyUSA.org, by calling 1-800-SAL-ARMY or by texting the word “STORM” to 80888 to make a $10 donation through your mobile phone. For more information on The Salvation Army's preparation and response to Hurricane Irenese, please follow www.twitter.com/SalArmyEDS, www.twitter.com/SalvationArmyUS, and www.facebook.com/salvationarmyusa
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