The work of The Salvation Army in Haiti began in 1950. Headquartered in Port-au-Prince, the Haiti Division is part of the Caribbean Territory, which is comprised of 16 countries and headquartered in Kingston, Jamaica.
The division has 45 basic (kindergarten) schools attended by more than 2,500 children, 48 primary schools with nearly 10,700 youngsters, two secondary schools attended by almost 2,000 students plus an evening school and five home-science schools. The division also has centers for primary health care and nutrition in Port-au-Prince, as well as a hospital, maternity home, dispensary, children’s home and tuberculosis facility in Fond-des-Negres.
Already the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere with 80 percent of the population living under the poverty line and 54 percent in abject poverty, Haiti suffered a severe setback in January 2010 when a massive magnitude 7.0 earthquake struck the country. More than 300,000 people were killed and some 1.5 million left homeless. Much of the country’s capital city, Port-au-Prince, was destroyed.
The Salvation Army in Haiti was on the job immediately, followed by quick responses from the U.S. and international Salvation Army. Shortly after survivors’ initial needs for hydration, food, shelter and sanitation were met, The Salvation Army established a Haiti Recovery and Development (HRD) team, which is still highly active. An estimated $7.8 billion in damage was inflicted by the earthquake. A year later, two hurricanes slowed the recovery process.
With Haiti’s population approaching 10 million, roughly half report practicing voodoo despite 80 percent identifying themselves as Roman Catholic and 16 percent as Protestant.
Sources: The Salvation Army Year Book; CIA World Fact Book
The Haiti flag has two equal horizontal bands of blue and red with a centered white rectangle bearing a coat of arms containing a palm tree flanked by flags and two cannons above a scroll with the motto “l’union fait la force” (union makes strength).