Halifax Explosion Begins Salvation Army Emergency Disaster Services in Canada

by Maritime
Categories: 2020, News Archive

“The Halifax Explosion is where it all began for The Salvation Army emergency disaster service program in Canada,” explains Jan Keats, divisional emergency disaster services coordinator.

The 1917 Halifax Explosion is a momentous event in Salvation Army history. When the tragedy struck, Salvation Army personnel from across the country assisted in relief efforts, providing food, clothing and emotional care to those impacted. 

The Halifax Explosion occurred when two ships, a Belgian relief ship – the Imo, and a French munitions ship – the Mont Blanc, collided in Halifax harbour on December 6, 1917. The explosion and subsequent tsunami-like wave destroyed much of the city of Halifax, killed more than 1,600 people and injured thousands more. 

The Army dispatched personnel from across the country and Newfoundland to assist with relief efforts, which lasted for months. In addition to providing for the practical needs of those impacted, such as food and clothing, Salvation Army personnel provided emotional and spiritual support to responders. 

This work has continued for the past 103 years and is now known as The Salvation Army’s emergency disaster services program, which operates Canada-wide.

“We remember all those who lost their lives in this tragedy,” she explains. “We carry their memory with us every time we respond to a disaster in the Maritimes and across the country.”

Learn more about The Salvation Army emergency disaster services program.