THE whole world has responded with disbelief at the atrocities which have taken place in the last 24 hours in the USA. The hearts of all Salvationists around the world have gone out to those who are suffering and in particular the relatives and friends of the those who have died. The enormity of the situation has struck deep into every community.

General John Gowans and the Chief of the Staff, Commissioner John Larsson, along with many staff members at International Headquarters in London, gazed with horror as the live images flashed across the TV screens.

Statement from The General  'Our first thoughts and prayers at a time like this must be for those thousands of families that have been bereaved by the devastation in New York and Washington and the thousands more who have been damaged physically and emotionally by these unthinkable acts of violence. The international Salvation Army pledges itself to provide all possible assistance to our American colleagues as they work with the emergency services in the disaster areas, and as they offer comfort and spiritual support to the distraught throughout the United States.  'It is impossible for us to understand the thinking of those who could plan and carry out an attack of this magnitude of horror and savagery on innocent men, women and children.  'Whatever the cause or objective, such behaviour cannot be justified on any grounds. We can do no other but condemn it. It is clearer than ever that ours is a world that needs a Saviour.'

Practical response  In an immediate response Salvation Army emergency teams mobilised resources to serve in whatever way they could to bring assistance to those who are suffering and the families of victims.  Reports in from various centers state that emergency food and aid vehicles and personnel have been on site at the World Trade Center area since 10:30 a.m. on the day of the terrible blast. Workers were also dispatched to the Pentagon site in Washington, under the direction of Commissioner John Busby, the National Commander, as well to the plane crash site in Somerset County, Pennsylvania.

In New York The Salvation Army has set up shelters and mobile canteens. One of the shelters, consisting of 100 beds, has been set up at Manhattan College in New York, staffed by cadets from the Army's School for Officers Training.

Staff at St Vincent's hospital are being assisted by Salvationists. Three mobile canteens are continuing to serve emergency workers at the World Trade area.  Counselling teams are also being made available to help families.

Throughout the USA, The Salvation Army has been responding to meet related needs where they exist. In many cities, Army shelters are receiving passengers stranded by airline groundings or related shutdowns.