Salvation Army Disaster Response Teams in Position for Hurricane Laura Response
August 26, 2020 – Trained Salvation Army staff and volunteers are moving into East Texas ahead of the anticipated landfall of Hurricane Laura on Thursday morning. Current forecasts suggests that the storm could reach the coastline as a Category 3 Hurricane. Ten mobile kitchens are on standby for deployment with an additional five units in Texas being prepared should additional support be needed.
Feeding operations have already started in East Texas where regional resource centers have been established. “A mobile unit from Williamson County is already in Huntsville feeding more than 200 people.” said Jason Whaley, Communications Manager of the Austin Area Command. “We will be there to provide food and support to responders and those fleeing disaster.”
“The Salvation Army teams from Texas City and Beaumont are also providing food to those seeking help from local resource center, even ahead of the storm making landfall.” said Alvin Migues, Director of The Salvation Army Emergency Disaster Services (EDS) in Texas. “We are especially concerned about the Golden Triangle and Houston areas that have historically suffered significant flooding during similar severe weather events. As the track of the storm develops, we will be in position to react and deploy, as necessary.”
As several counties begin the process of evacuation, an 11-person Incident Command Team has been assembled and is now in the area. The team, consisting of Salvation Army EDS professionals and Officers from throughout Texas, will be based in Beaumont. “The Incident Command Team members provide leadership in all areas of disaster response including safety, operations, logistics, finance, planning, and communication. We have an experienced and effective team in place to support the work of our staff and volunteers on the ground,” said Migues. “At this stage we have 10 mobile kitchen teams ready to deploy to deliver food, drinks, and emotion and spiritual care, and depending on the impact of the hurricane, have more units available.”
EDS personnel will all be pre-screened prior to each deployment due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Disaster workers will answer a series of wellness questions to determine if they are fit for duty at the time of deployment. “We have established protocols specifically to address responding to disaster during the current pandemic.” said Migues. “These include wearing a mask while serving, practicing social distancing and healthy hygiene by frequently washing their hands, and of course additional daily cleaning of mobile kitchens and other unity. All aspects of service have been impacted by COVID-19 and we are committed to the safety of our staff and volunteers, while continuing to deliver help to those experiencing crisis.
About The Salvation Army
The Salvation Army has been supporting those in need for more than 131 years in the Austin area. The Salvation Army is Central Texas’ largest provider of emergency shelter. We manage The Austin Shelter for Women and Children, The Rathgeber Center for Families, The Downtown Shelter and Social Services Center, and The Williamson County Service Center. In 2019, we served more than 2,900 men, women, and children, provided over 118,000 bed nights, and had over 80 percent of clients successfully exit our programs. Locally, thousands of people receive assistance from The Salvation Army each year through services that include providing relief for disaster victims, rehabilitation for the addicted, clothing and shelter to those experiencing homelessness, and case management to help people move from crisis to stability. For more information, go to SalvationArmyAustin.org.