Salvation Army Teams in Australia Respond to Cyclone Yasi

February 15, 2011
Simone Worthing |

AUSTRALIA - Salvation Army Emergency Services (SAES) teams responded immediately in the aftermath of tropical Cyclone Yasi, which lashed the coastal region of Queensland, Australia, causing widespread devastation and destruction.

In the morning after Yasi struck, SAES teams served breakfast at Innisfail, which lost power and sustained severe damaged. Access was initially cut to the worst-hit communities along the coast but SAES teams went in as soon as the highway was reopened. Two Salvationists from Innisfail Corps (Salvation Army church) gained access to Tully on 5 February and fed 200 people. Teams from Cairns and Atherton assisted with catering to more than 600 people and a catering vehicle from the Sydney East and Illawarra Division was sent to the area to supplement the effort.

SAES teams also catered for residents and emergency services crews in Innisfail and Ingham until all evacuation centres had closed. The teams were then diverted to Tully Heads.

In Townsville, The Salvation Army's Riverway Recovery Mission sustained some minor damage to the roof but SAES teams fed up to 150 people at the evacuation centres until power was restored and people could return home.

'A Toyota Trooper and SAES trailer have been deployed to Townsville for four-wheel drive ability to reach remote communities with damaged roads,' said Major Walters.

'The relief effort has moved to clean-up,' reports Major Bruce Harmer, manager at the recovery mission, 'which we are doing in partnership with Townsville City Council. They give us the addresses of the elderly or people with disabilities who need assistance and we go there and do what is needed.'

Volunteers include residents from the recovery mission.

In Cairns, SAES teams fed emergency services crews and people at the evacuation centres. Minor damage was sustained to the front and back gates of The Salvation Army’s Centennial Lodge.

Envoy Simon Steele, The Salvation Army’s Flying Padre, has been keeping in contact with people living on rural properties, providing help and support as required.

'Our teams and coordinators continue to provide incredible leadership and ministry in trying and difficult circumstances,' said Major Walters. 'Capacities are stretched, faith tested, resources coming, and our Almighty God is providing sustaining grace and mercy in abundant measure.'

About The Salvation Army
The Salvation Army, established in London in 1865, has been supporting those in need without discrimination for more than 135 years in the U.S. More than 25 million Americans receive assistance from The Salvation Army each year through a range of social services: food for the hungry, relief for disaster victims, assistance for the disabled, outreach to the elderly and ill, clothing and shelter to the homeless, and opportunities for underprivileged children. The Salvation Army tracks the level of need across the country with the Human Needs Index ( The Salvation Army has served survivors of every major national disaster since 1900. The Salvation Army does not place an administrative fee on disaster donations. During emergency disasters, 100 percent of designated gifts are used to support specific relief efforts. For more information, go to or follow on Twitter @SalvationArmyUS.

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