JIS News

As Haiti moves to regain normalcy, following the massive earthquake that shook the country on January 12, the Salvation Army is now focusing its efforts on providing prepared meals for its citizens.
In an interview with JIS News, today (February 11), the Salvation Army’s Chief Secretary for the Caribbean territory, Colonel Lindsay Rowe, said that the organisation has already distributed over two million prepared meals in Haiti.
“Right now, most of what we are distributing to Haiti are prepared meals. We are purchasing them through a company in the United States…. Each family is given a box and the box contains enough food for a week,” he informed.
Colonel Rowe explained that all that needs to be done, is to bring water to a boil in a pot, pour the contents of the package into it and within five minutes, the meal will be ready.
He said that this is the easiest thing to do at this point, as persons distributing the food items would not need to break food down into parcels, as is normally done. The Colonel expounded that, usually, when food arrives in Haiti, all the items would need to be separated, and broken down into packages so individual families can get food for about a week, as well as distributed in large groups.
Noting that he arrived from Haiti last week, and would be returning next week, Colonel Rowe pointed out that many of the people in Haiti have no place to store large quantities of food, hence the practicality of prepared meals.
“Around the Salvation Army’s complex in Port-au-Prince, for example, there are 20,000 people living on a soccer field, and they don’t really have tents; it’s blanket and sheets, whatever they can get spread over a wooden frame. And so to send down a lot of clothing (and) canned food to them at this time is not practical, whereas the prepared meals take little space to store, are very easy to prepare and they are vitamin-reinforced as well, so they are very good quality items,” he said.
He noted that supplies the organisation receives for Haiti, which often include items of clothing and shoes, are sorted, packaged and labelled, and for the moment, are being stored until the need arises, “where they actually need the clothing and have a place to store the clothes and bulk food.”
“We have access by sea port to be able to send them in by large containers. We have already sent in four large containers of food and clothing and that’s ready for distribution down there. So, all of it will be kept here and sorted, and as soon as the need arises there and the capacity is there for them to receive it, it will be shipped directly to them,” he added.
During a brief handing-over ceremony at the Salvation Army Territorial headquarters earlier today, the Colonel received non-perishable food items and clothing from members of the 4-H Clubs of the St. Martin De Porres Primary School in Gordon Town, St. Andrew, as part of the Jamaica 4-H Clubs’ relief efforts for Haiti.
On Tuesday, January 12, a massive 7.0 earthquake rocked Haiti, devastating the capital Port-au-Prince. Jamaica has joined other countries in the relief and recovery efforts, and has been designated as the hub for CARICOM’s contribution.

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