Church Aids Disaster Victims Worldwide
September 2001

“Church Aids Disaster Victims Worldwide,” Ensign, Sept. 2001, 78

Church Aids Disaster Victims Worldwide

After natural disasters struck the United States, Peru, Colombia, and the Philippines in June, humanitarian aid was sent from Church headquarters and given by local Church units as well.

Quake in Peru

An earthquake measuring 8.1 on the Richter scale struck the southern tip of Peru on 23 June, killing more than 115 people, injuring 1,500, and displacing more than 46,000. One member child was killed, four Church members were seriously injured, and hundreds were displaced. Local Church leaders used fast-offering funds to supply members in need with water, food, blankets, tents, and other items.

One Church meetinghouse was reported to be seriously damaged, and a few others sustained minor damage. Some meetinghouses were used as temporary shelters for displaced victims.

Church humanitarian funds were used for immediate purchase of emergency relief items in the area. Church Welfare Services also shipped 110,000 pounds of food, blankets, hygiene kits, and first-aid supplies. These relief items were distributed by local civil defense authorities.

Flooding in Texas and Louisiana

Floods and heavy rains from tropical storm Allison killed 16 people in the Houston area and one person in New Orleans. Some 10,000 homes and businesses were flooded, with downtown Houston sustaining much of the property damage.

The floods forced 100 member families to evacuate to homes of other members or relatives, or to emergency shelters. Local leaders used fast-offering funds and the bishops’ storehouse to provide food and supplies to displaced members; supplies from the bishops’ storehouse were also donated to local agencies. Local units also organized neighborhood cleanup crews. Church humanitarian funds were donated to the American Red Cross to support relief efforts.

The flooding nearly caused cancellation of the Houston performance of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir scheduled on 15 June, but an undamaged venue was found the day before the concert (see related story, p. 73).

Tornado in Colombia

A tornado in Barranquilla, Colombia, on 4 June killed seven people and injured 1,000. Four homes of Church members were extensively damaged. Local leaders used Church welfare resources to help members in distress. The Church provided funds for emergency relief items to be purchased locally and also sent about 65,000 pounds of food, hygiene kits, toys, and clothing to aid relief efforts.

Volcano Eruption in the Philippines

Thirty member families were evacuated when Mount Mayon erupted on the southern end of Luzon Island, Philippines. The volcano spewed lava 800 meters (about 2,600 feet) into the air, leading to the evacuation of more than 30,000 people. Local leaders used fast-offering funds to assist affected members, and the Church donated locally purchased food and relief supplies to the Philippines Red Cross for distribution.