26 August 2017

FORTY-TWO mobile kitchens and two field kitchens have been deployed by The Salvation Army in Texas following the landfall of Hurricane Harvey. The Category 4 storm is the most damaging weather system to hit the mainland United States in more than 13 years. Meteorologists estimate that up to a metre of rainfall can be expected in some areas as the weather front slows and meanders close to the Texas coast. Catastrophic flooding is expected, along with structural damage to buildings and infrastructure such as power lines and water supplies.

The Salvation Army’s well-prepared disaster response is a close partnership with local and state emergency officials as well as non-profit partners such as Americares and Midwest Food Bank. Emergency supplies such as clean-up kits, bottled water and food have been staged at The Salvation Army’s disaster centre in Arlington, Texas, with some already distributed to strategic points nearer the coast. Each of The Salvation Army’s mobile kitchens can serve an average of 1,500 meals per day.

Additionally, Salvation Army staff have been deployed to work alongside colleagues in the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) National Response Coordination Center in Washington DC and at the Texas State Operations Center in Austin. Disaster leadership teams have been positioned in San Antonio, Galveston/Texas City, Houston and Corpus Christi – close to Rockport, where Hurricane Harvey made landfall late on Friday night with winds of 130 miles per hour (210 kilometres per hour).

The Salvation Army in Corpus Christi is concentrating its early efforts to feed 200 first responders who are staged at the FEMA Safety Shelter dome. ‘We collected some extra food from our freezer and fired up the generator on the mobile kitchen,’ reported Captain Patrick Gesner. ‘We've already been serving coffee this morning and the police and first responders have expressed how pleased they are we are here. Our focus today will be cooking and serving meals at the FEMA dome while the city assessment is taking place.’

An appeal has been launched to support The Salvation Army’s provision of physical, emotional and spiritual care to survivors and relief workers. Even after the immediate disaster response efforts are over, The Salvation Army will remain in communities impacted by the storm, supporting long-term recovery efforts and providing ongoing assistance to those in need. In the USA, please visit helpsalvationarmy.org to donate or call 1-800-SAL-ARMY. Donors in other countries can give securely at http://sar.my/amappeal.

Up-to-date information about the Hurricane Harvey response in Texas and neighbouring states can be found online at disaster.salvationarmyusa.org.

From reports by USA Southern Territory

Tags: Hurricanes 2017, Emergencies, Americas and Caribbean