“Church Sends Relief in Wake of Earthquake, Hurricane,” Ensign, Dec. 2005, 67
The Church continues to provide relief assistance and to assess member needs in areas harmed by natural disasters. A 7.6 magnitude earthquake hit the region bordering Pakistan, northern India, and Afghanistan on October 8, 2005, causing tens of thousands of fatalities. The category 1 hurricane, Hurricane Stan, which struck Mexico and Central America on October 6, caused significant destruction and sustained flooding.
The 7.6-magnitude earthquake is estimated to have taken more than 50,000 lives, leaving 42,000 people injured and more than 3 million homeless. Substantial aftershocks and rain persist in the disaster areas, hampering relief efforts.
All missionaries in the affected areas were reported safe, and there are no reported member injuries or fatalities. Several member homes in Faisalabad, Pakistan, sustained minor damage. The meetinghouse in Taxila, Pakistan, near Islamabad, also received minor damage.
Asia Area Church representatives recently met with Pakistani officials in Hong Kong. The Church has also contacted Islamic Relief Worldwide, a Muslim humanitarian organization with which the Church has previously worked. Islamic Relief agreed to provide transportation for Church-donated goods such as blankets, clothing, and first aid and medical supplies.
Tropical Storm Stan became Hurricane Stan, a category 1 hurricane, just as it made landfall on the southeast coast of Mexico, near Veracruz, on October 6, 2005. As it crossed Central America it caused torrential rain, flooding, and mudslides in Mexico, Guatemala, and El Salvador that killed at least two members of the Church and drove nearly 200 member families from their homes.
One member was killed in Guatemala, another in Mexico. All missionaries were reported safe. As this report was compiled, nearly 40 communities where members lived were still inaccessible due to flooding and mudslides.
The storm damaged 9 meetinghouses. About 27 other meetinghouses were used as shelters in Guatemala and El Salvador, housing more than 2,300 people.
While the Church continued to account for members and to assess their needs, 6,000 food boxes and a quantity of emergency funds were sent in the initial response.
Hundreds of people have been reported dead, most due to the more than 900 reported mudslides. The excessive flooding has damaged homes and property and wiped out bridges. More than 118 communities are isolated and inaccessible due to storm-related conditions.