The Salvation Army Disaster Response History Galveston Hurricane: September 8, 1900: The Salvation Army’s first major disaster response effort in the United States followed the devastating hurricane that impacted Galveston, TX in 1900, literally destroying the coastal city and killing over 5,000 people. At the behest of National Commander Frederick Booth-Tucker, Army officers from across the country moved into the Galveston area to help clean, feed and shelter the thousands of survivors, while also providing much needed spiritual and emotional support.
San Francisco Earthquake: April 18, 1906: The Salvation Army again responded to a major natural disaster in the spring of 1906, when an 8.25 magnitude earthquake rocked San Francisco, leading to three days of fires and 3,000 or more deaths. Salvation Army personnel established feeding stations and shelters throughout downtown San Francisco and into Oakland. The earthquake also marked the first time The Salvation Army coordinated a major, nationwide fundraising effort in response to a disaster.
30,000 individuals fed
9,000 individuals sheltered
$15,000 donated (over $300,000 in 2006 dollars)
9/11 Terrorist Attacks: September 11, 2001: The Salvation Army was the first relief agency to reach Ground Zero, reporting within a half-hour following the first plane crash at the World Trade Center site. With support from its mobile canteens, counselors and thousands of volunteers, The Salvation Army served relief workers at the WTC site for over 9 months; leaving only when operations at Ground Zero officially concluded in May, 2002. In the course of the relief effort, dubbed “Operation Compassion Under Fire,” The Salvation Army was granted full control of the feeding operation at Ground Zero and also distributed other essential items to relief workers. Perhaps most importantly, Salvation Army counselors provided emotional and spiritual support to rescue and recovery -personnel working under incredibly difficult conditions.
Indian Ocean Earthquake: December 26, 2004: An earthquake on the floor of the Indian Ocean triggered a series of catastrophic tsunamis that caused widespread devastation and killed nearly 200,000 people in coastal communities in East Asia. A full time presence in the region since the 1890s enabled The Salvation Army to be on the ground providing immediate disaster relief to affected individuals within hours of the earthquake. Restoration and long-term recovery work, including home building and repair, sanitation infrastructure improvement and business development outreach will continue in the region for the foreseeable future.
2,200 homes to be constructed (500 completed)
250,000 people assisted
$43 million donated ($24 million from the U.S.)
Hurricane Katrina: August 29, 2005: Hurricane Katrina made landfall on the Gulf Coast of the United States as a strong Category 3 storm on August 29, 2005. The storm proved to be one of the costliest and most deadly in U.S. history. Huge sections of coastline in Alabama, Louisiana and Mississippi were utterly devastated and approximately 1,600 individuals died as a result of the storm. The Salvation Army responded to the immediate needs of survivors following Katrina and other storms during the unusually active 2005 hurricane season. The Army continues to serve individuals and families affected by Katrina by coordinating long-term clean-up and restoration efforts, providing financial and social service support to hurricane survivors and offering spiritual and emotional care to those impacted by the disaster.
5.6 million meals served
2.5 million people assisted
$382 million donated
Hurricane Gustav:September 1, 2008: Hurricane Gustav made landfall in the United States as a Category 2 storm on September 1, 2008. It was the seventh tropical cyclone, third hurricane and second major hurricane of the 2008 Atlantic hurricane season, creating the largest evacuation in the history of the United States. Throughout the Gulf Coast, more than 3 million people evacuated their homes, seeking shelter with The Salvation Army and other emergency relief organizations.
500,000 meals served
2,000 clean-up kits distributed
30 Mobile Feeding Units dispatched
Nearly $13 million donated (Hurricanes Gustav and Ike combined)
Hurricane Ike: September 13, 2008: Hurricane Ike was the third most destructive hurricane to ever make landfall in the United States. During the early morning hours of September 4, Ike was a Category 4 hurricane, with maximum sustained winds of 145 mph.. Ike made its final landfall east of Galveston, Texas, as a Category 2 hurricane on September 13, 2008, killing 112 people. Immediately following the passing of Ike, Salvation Army officers, employees and volunteers provided immediate response to storm survivors and first responders, serving in two weeks shifts until all needs were met.
More than 100 Mobile Feeding Units dispatched
4.6 million meals served
5,000 people provided financial aid
Nearly $13 million donated (Hurricanes Gustav and Ike combined)
Haiti Earthquake:January 12, 2010: An earthquake with a 7.0 magnitude hit Haiti, affecting an estimated three million people. The Haitian government reported that an estimated 230,000 people died and 1 million people were left without a home. The Salvation Army, which has been in Haiti since 1950, responded immediately providing critical lifesaving services such as food, water, shelter and medical attention to survivors in the country’s capital of Port-au-Prince.. The Salvation Army continues to provide food, water and shelter to survivors while implementing long-term recovery efforts.
More than 26,000 survivors treated at Salvation Army medical facilities
Approximately 5,000 hygiene kits distributed
Today: The Salvation Army continues to work closely with federal, state and local authorities to assist in responding to natural and man-made disasters wherever and whenever they occur. In the last few years alone, the Army has provided on-site support during major emergency situations including the Virginia Tech shootings, the Minnesota bridge collapse, the southern California wildfires, the Midwest floods and Southern state floods and tornadoes. These are just a few examples of the dozens of emergencies to which the Army responds each and every year.
For more information, please visit www.salvationarmyusa.org.