Schulkinder in Haiti

Our key countries and themes

Our three geographical focus areas are Asia, Africa, and Latin America and the Caribbean. Learn more about our key themes and get to know our team.

Emergency disaster relief on the ground

In disaster situations like earthquakes, tornadoes, floods or drought, the Salvation Army provides assistance on the front line.

Our key themes

Different needs require different approaches – all of which need to be coordinated. This means that our projects must provide comprehensive and long-term support to people in need. This ranges from basic medical care through to education, helping people improve their income, and fighting against corruption. Our projects often create improvements in several fields at once.

Click on the pictograms to learn more about the individual key themes.

From emergency assistance to long-term aid projects

Whether it is an earthquake in Asia, drought in Africa or a hurricane in the Caribbean, help must arrive quickly and efficiently. The Salvation Army provides rapid, threefold support in catastrophes: emergency measures, help with reconstruction and, when it is possible and makes sense, a long-term follow-up project.

Phase 1: Emergency assistance

In a catastrophe, many of the victims lose family members, dwellings and often even their livelihood. They are left without food and water for the immediate future and have no access to medical care. The local Salvation Army offers quick and uncomplicated assistance. Depending on the situation, an international Salvation Army team will also offer support. Drinking water, food and tents are provided. Thanks to the Salvation Army’s global network, it is often possible to use the local Salvation Army’s existing infrastructure and spaces, allowing us to save valuable time.

Generally, the International Development Office of the Salvation Army Switzerland supports the work of the local Salvation Army through guidance and financial contributions for aid.

Phase 2: Reconstruction

Once it has tended to basic requirements, the Salvation Army will inspect the damage on the ground, analysing any further requirements of people affected. What do they need in the medium term? How can we help them to quickly get back on their feet again?

If farmers have lost their livestock, for example, we work with the local Salvation Army to ensure they are replaced. If the roof of a school has been damaged, we help with the repairs. The local Salvation Army trains tradespeople so that they can help with reconstruction and earn an income.

We refer to the period between the catastrophe and the return to the original situation as the “rehabilitation project”. The goal of reconstruction is for the people affected to return to their everyday lives as quickly as possible.

Phase 3: Long-term support

Depending on the situation, the reconstruction phase is followed by a long-term project, which allows us to ensure that the support is not ended at a crucial moment.

For example, the Salvation Army enables local people to earn a better income or to increase their crop yield. The assistance that has been provided can and should contribute to improving the prospects of local people in the long term, too. Even when one of our ongoing projects suffers damages, we still want to ensure it continues successfully in the long-term.

Nepal: Assistance following the earthquake of 2015

In 2015, a series of major earthquakes occurred in Nepal, claiming the lives of almost 9,000 people. In the immediate aftermath of the catastrophe, the International Salvation Army dispatched emergency assistance teams and provided water, food, tents, tarpaulins and emergency aid kits to roughly 10,000 affected families. The International Development Office of the Salvation Army Switzerland provided funds immediately after the earthquake and built three temporary schools.

Heilsarmee leistet Nothilfe in Haiti

Haiti: Reconstruction after Hurricane Matthew

The devastating Hurricane Matthew struck Haiti in 2016, destroying almost 30,000 houses. More than 1,000 people lost their lives. Eleven of the Salvation Army schools we support in Haiti suffered massive damage. Three schools had to be completely rebuilt.

Thanks to donations, almost half a million Swiss francs could be invested in the reconstruction of Haiti. The generous support from donors ensured the successful continuation of our school programme in the country. The aid made a major contribution to supporting Haiti on its path towards providing everyone with a school education. Insufficient access to schooling remains a key obstacle to the country’s development.