“Disasters Impact Lives of Members in Four Countries,” Ensign, Oct. 2002, 78
Church members in Chuuk (Truk Islands) and in Texas, Peru, and the Philippines were affected by recent disasters that struck their areas.
Among 47 confirmed dead in the aftermath of Tropical Storm Chata’an in the Pacific Ocean was a member of the Church, his wife, and three children. The storm dumped over 20 inches of rain on the islands of Chuuk in a two-day period, triggering over 30 landslides. Numerous member families had homes damaged or destroyed.
The Church responded quickly, sending a shipment that included food, water, tents, and medicine. Local leaders also distributed supplies and food to needy families in nine branches throughout the islands.
Torrential rains in south Texas damaged or destroyed an estimated 48,000 homes in early July. Near San Antonio there were reports of two inches of rain falling an hour, some areas receiving 30 to 37 inches. The homes of 11 member families were damaged in the flooding.
Approximately 1,000 members and missionaries turned out to help in massive cleanup efforts. Volunteers—many clad in yellow T-shirts with the insignia “Helping Hands—Flood Relief 2002” and the Church’s name—cleaned and helped at 186 houses and other community areas. The owner of one house commented, “A lot of churches profess to be Christians, but your church members came out and were Christians.”
In southeastern Peru, unusually heavy snow and freezing temperatures claimed the lives of some 30 people. About 15,000 homes were damaged or destroyed; an estimated 80,000 livestock died from the freeze, and many crops were ruined. Thirty member families living in three stakes received damage to their homes.
The Church provided emergency funds to purchase blankets locally for distribution among the needy. Relief supplies were also shipped from the Latter-day Saint Humanitarian Center in Salt Lake City, including heavy clothing, hygiene kits, and medical supplies.
Monsoon rains caused flooding throughout the Philippines, including metropolitan Manila. Some 65 people were killed, and about 2,000 homes were destroyed or damaged. Members have been affected by flooding in five provinces with damage to their homes. Priesthood leaders assisted members with food and repairs, using local welfare resources.