Released 28 February 2011
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Community Relations Director
WI (February 28th, 2011) The
Salvation Army in New Zealand is responding after the city of Christchurch was
hit by a huge earthquake on Tuesday 22 February—the second major earthquake to
affect the city in less than six months. At least 65 people are known to have
been killed and—at time of writing—hundreds were trapped in the debris.
6.3-magnitude earthquake struck at 12.51 PM local time, causing structural
damage and total destruction of some buildings. Vehicles were crushed by
falling debris. Medical triage centers have established around the city and the
mayor of Christchurch
has declared a state of emergency.
and parts of the surrounding region were still rebuilding after a 7.1
earthquake that struck in the early hours of September 4, 2010. While that
earthquake damaged buildings and made some homes inhabitable, there were no
deaths and only a small number of injuries. The February 22 earthquake—said by
seismologists to be an aftershock to the 2010 quake—was of a lesser magnitude
than that in September but it was closer to the city center and nearer to the
surface, which is why the damage is more significant.
afternoon The Salvation Army was assisting more than 1,000 people at a welfare
site established near the inner city at Hagley Park.
Shocked and grief-stricken locals are temporarily being housed in large tents
that were already on site for a flower show.
Cross, emergency services coordinator for The Salvation Army in Christchurch, said that
The Salvation Army was calling its emergency response teams together. Travel
across the city was extremely difficult, however, and people are being told to
stay away from the city center.
have been organized for around 1,500 people, says Major Cross, giving assurance
that 'food is on its way and people will be fed’.
'You just cannot imagine the enormity of this [quake] compared to the first
Salvation Army buildings have been damaged. The Salvation Army’s community
ministry center in Christchurch has been
severely damaged, as has The Salvation Army’s South Island
Salvation Army was involved in the initial response to last year’s earthquake
and has continued to assist with welfare and psycho-social support.
situation in Christchurch is extremely serious,’
says Commissioner Don Bell, commander of The Salvation Army's New Zealand, Fiji
and Tonga Territory. ‘Our prayers are with the
city of Christchurch—we
pray that God will give strength and hope to those who are in shock, and help
Salvation Army stands ready to continue to help the city in this terrible time
of great grief and human need.’
Salvation Army has relaunched its Canterbury Earthquake Appeal in expectation
of great humanitarian need. National fundraising coordinator Major Robbie Ross
says the region has suffered terribly since last September’s earthquake and a
tremendous effort was now required to help those already living with the
hardships and psychological effects of the original quake and its aftershocks.
experience with the September quake showed us the great emotional shock such an
event can have on people—and now there is the added dimension of people
grieving for loved ones,’ he says. ‘There will be a myriad of material needs by
those who have lost possessions and homes. We are appealing for cash donations
to strengthen our response.’
The Salvation Army, an evangelical part of the
universal Christian church established in 1865, has been supporting those in
need in His name without discrimination for 129 years in the United States.
Nearly 30 million Americans receive assistance from The Salvation Army each
year through the broadest array of social services that range from providing
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. Approximately 84 cents of every
dollar raised is used to support those services in 5,000 communities nationwide