Army “Digs in,” in Acapulco Aftermath
With more than 200 known dead and over 400 still buried beneath the mud and refuse, the 1.5 million citizens of Acapulco, Mexico valiantly struggle to dig free from the onslaught of Hurricane Pauline and maintain their basic economy based primarily on tourism.
Among those helping in the effort is The Salvation Army. Teams from throughout the United States joined officers, soldiers and volunteers from Acapulco in the effort to minister to the needs of the population of the Mazimba barrio, the area most severely hit and where the Army facilities are located. Majors Daniel and Teresa Guerra administer this full program of children’s services and corps.
The Army has established a centralized feeding station that provides food for upwards of 3,000 people a day. Additionally, a medical clinic has been established involving four physicians and four nurses. This clinic provides health services for over 100 daily. Patients are often single parents with infants and toddlers, children and the elderly. Four canteens move throughout the area to provide food in various locations. A large warehouse located close to the docks has been provided by Mr. Fernando Alvarez Aguilar, a local businessman and member of the city council. Major Victor Valdez, divisional commander of the Capital Division, in which Acapulco is located, was on hand to assist.
Merle Miller, Western Territory team leader of the emergency disaster assessment team, stated: “As I arrived in Acapulco on the day following the impact of Hurricane Pauline, I saw pain and suffering beyond imagination. Again I realized that God is not only powerful but loving as I witnessed the caring concern of people selflessly giving of themselves in assistance to others. God reigns in the hearts of human beings who show love in the face of disaster. I was pleased to be part of the recovery.”
With the West having been assigned responsibility as the lead disaster relief territory, Captain Mike Olsen, El Paso county coordinator, has been dispatched by territorial leaders to begin the process of implementation of the findings of the assessment team. Captain Art Storey, territorial disaster relief coordinator, serves as the general operations liaison officer with territorial headquarters.
Of particular help to the American volunteers was the American Counsular agent Julie Anderson de Mendez, who facilitated the resolution of a number of difficulties and provided assistance with translation.