International news briefs: 24 August
Emergency Services teams respond to Hawaii, Canada fires
As the devastating fires that erupted across Lahaina, Hawaii, on 8 August continue to upend lives, The Salvation Army is still on the ground responding with food, shelter, emotional and spiritual care, and other critical services.
The Emergency Disaster Services team in Hawaii has so far provided and coordinated the delivery of over 83,000 meals and is also offering emotional and spiritual care to evacuees and first responders. A particular focus has been “mass feedings” for those seeking refuge at Maui County/American Red Cross shelters, and anyone else in need across impacted communities.
In addition to providing meals and support, the team has been using 100 per cent of the monetary donations for the exact relief supplies that the community needs.
In Canada, The Salvation Army has continued to assist families affected by the wildfires in the Northwest Territories and British Columbia with food, shelter and medical supplies.
With mass evacuations taking place in Yellowknife and Kelowna, many residents have temporarily relocated to different cities.
The focus of the Emergency Disaster Services team is to ensure all evacuees and those on the frontlines have a safe place to stay, and that they remain well fed and hydrated.
Salvation Army responds to violence in Pakistan
The Salvation Army world is shocked and saddened to hear about the attacks on Salvation Army premises and other Christian churches in Pakistan on 16 August. International Headquarters has asked for prayers of reconciliation and comfort for all those affected.
Hundreds of people armed with sticks and rocks stormed a predominantly Christian area in Faisalabad. Images on news outlets and social media showed smoke rising from church buildings, including The Salvation Army, and people setting fire to furniture.
The attack was allegedly triggered by a group of religious zealots accusing a local Christian family of desecrating the Qur’an, according to a rescue official at the scene.
Four churches had been set on fire, but there were no reports of injuries.
At Territorial Headquarters (THQ) in Lahore yesterday, officers and their families impacted by the events were welcomed by territorial leaders and given “hope and encouragement in the face of destruction”. Leaders shared information on working through trauma, living in challenging times and finding hope in Jesus.
THQ personnel gave practical gifts to the families and reminded them of their courage and resilience.
IHQ highlights World Water Week
Salvation Army International Headquarters in London is hosting an exhibition for World Water Week (18 August – 7 September).
The exhibition highlights that:
• Two billion people – 26 per cent of the world’s population – lack safely managed drinking water.
• Around the world, up to 443 million school days are lost every year because of water-related illnesses.
• If everyone, everywhere had clean water, the number of diarrhoeal deaths would be cut by a third.
• Diarrhoea caused by dirty water and poor toilet access kills one child under the age of five every two minutes.
Salvationists and friends around the world are encouraged to reflect on what water means to us, and commit to seeking justice for those who do not have the safe water that we should all be able to enjoy.
The exhibition encourages people to:
• Start conversations about unequal access to water and use our voices to make a difference.
• Cut down on waste, acting in solidarity with those with less or no access to safe water.
• Donate and raise money for charities working to improve the situations of communities around the world.
For more information and to view the exhibition, click here.
Summer camp underway in Moldova
Summer camps for children and teenagers are in full swing in Eastern Europe, including in Moldova, a division of the Eastern Europe Territory.
“We continue to dive into the fascinating world of adventure, friendship and faith,” said camp leaders. “We are sure that this week will bring children even more joy, friendship and closeness to God and each other.”
Camp activities include games, playground visits, Bible studies, lunches and “just an overall good time for the kids.”
The leaders emphasised that this is a time when many children have an opportunity to hear the gospel. “Keep us in your prayers as the little ones grow in Christ and their little hearts trust in him.”