Lieutenant Luigi Muedas (corps officer, Alicante) was in the first team to reach Lorca, where contact was made with Corporal Ortiz, from the Spanish military, who was coordinating the relief effort.
The lieutenant says: 'The city looked like there had been a war; there were fallen walls, military and firefighters everywhere. We have seen the faces of desolate people and a lot of tears.'
Captain Cristóbal Alvarez has been designated as The Salvation Army's Command Headquarters Emergency Coordinator. She was part of another team that travelled to Lorca on Saturday, May 14 to support the ongoing work.
Also on Saturday a smaller tremor hit the region, causing more damage. As a consequence, people are still afraid to enter their homes to pick up personal belongings. Government experts are working to assess the damaged buildings and put a mark on those which are uninhabitable.
The main need at this moment is for shelter, blankets and hot food. People have been receiving sandwiches for many days but Captain Jenniffer Beltrán (corps officer, Alicante, and wife of Lieutenant Muedas) was concerned that children in particular had not been receiving the nutrition they need. The Civil Coordinator for Emergency gave permission for The Salvation Army to distribute hot food in one of its tents and 400 families received soup, pasta and rice.
Personal hygiene items including toothbrushes, toothpaste, tissues and baby wipes, along with jars of baby food, were distributed on Sunday evening. This week The Salvation Army's thrift store in Mallorca is sending a load of clothing which volunteers will help to distribute.
Salvationists Provide Assistance
Salvationists in Spain are responding to the earthquake that hit Lorca, Murcia, on May 11. The 5.1-magnitude quake, combined with an earlier 4.4-magnitude tremor, killed nine people and caused damage to 80 per cent of the town's buildings.
The nearest Salvation Army corps (church) is in Alicante, more than 80 miles away. The officers (ministers) based in Alicante, husband-and-wife Lieutenant Luigi Muedas and Captain Jenniffer Beltrán travelled to Lorca to assess how The Salvation Army can provide help. As part of this assessment the officers spoke with representatives from the Spanish military and the Red Cross who are co-ordinating the emergency response.
People are afraid to spend time indoors and there is great fear that another earthquake will cause even greater destruction. Captain Beltrán and Lieutenant Muedas report that many people are sleeping in tents put up by the Spanish military but that some, including families with small children, are spending the night in the open. Others are sleeping in their cars.
There is an immediate need for food, hot drinks and blankets but the main need is for shelter. There is also a need for volunteers so The Salvation Army's offer of help has been gratefully received.
An initial sum of US$10,000 has been sent from The Salvation Army's International Headquarters to fund the provision of shelter, food and other necessities.