“Members Cope with Disasters, Civil War,” Ensign, Apr. 1999, 77
Earthquake in Colombia
An earthquake measuring 6.0 on the Richter scale struck 17 cities, towns, and villages in west-central Colombia on 25 January. Reports indicated that about 1,000 people—including three Church members—were killed in an area west of Bogotá and north of Cali. Damage was greatest in the towns of Armenia and Pereira. As many as 200 member families were left homeless, and three Church meetinghouses were used as emergency shelters. One Church meetinghouse was badly damaged. Despite challenges caused by looting and government precautions, Church regional welfare committees were able to provide food, clothing, tents, and water to members.
Sierra Leone and Fiji
A civil war has raged in Sierra Leone, Africa, for several months. Three Church members have been killed in the conflict, with several members unaccounted for. Some homeless member families have been sheltered in Church meetinghouses.
High winds, high tides, and rains caused by Cyclone Dani damaged crops and flooded portions of Fiji during January. Several member homes and two Church meetinghouses were damaged. All members and missionaries were reported safe.
Hurricane Mitch Update
On 25 January the Church made what was expected to be its final shipment of supplies to Central America for the assistance of Hurricane Mitch victims. “We are most pleased with the recovery and with the fact that the people who were helped don’t expect to be helped forever by the Church but are working to take care of themselves and reach self-sufficiency,” said Elder William R. Bradford of the Seventy, President of the Central America Area. “We give our appreciation and praise to the local leadership, who organized under the standard of procedures in the Church and proved again to us and to the whole Church that if we follow the program we have in place, it really works.”
Hurricane Mitch, which struck Honduras, Nicaragua, and other Central American nations in late October and early November 1998, killed about 5,600 people and caused an estimated five billion dollars in damage. The Church has shipped about two million pounds of relief supplies to hurricane victims.