Church Responds to Disasters
June 2007

“Church Responds to Disasters,” Ensign, June 2007, 79–80

Church Responds to Disasters

Church Opens Meetinghouses to Argentine Flood Evacuees

Hundreds sought shelter in Church meetinghouses following flooding and heavy rains in Argentina at the end of March.

For several days rain drenched parts of Argentina, causing widespread flooding that killed at least 7 people. Nearly 37,000 people were forced to evacuate their homes, prompting the Church to offer its meetinghouses as shelters in the affected areas.

Hardest hit were the Santa Fe and Entre Rios Provinces in Argentina’s northeast. It is unknown how many homes and businesses were flooded, but there were no reports from Church members of deaths or destroyed homes.

Eight meetinghouses across the region have housed approximately 600 people. The Church has also provided food, mattresses, medication, and clothing to the flood victims.

Church Aids Those Affected by Tornadoes

On Wednesday, March 28, more than 60 tornadoes swept through an area covering South Dakota to Colorado to Texas, USA, killing at least four people in three states and prompting the response of the Church to help those affected.

Extensive damage occurred in Holly, Colorado, when a tornado 600 feet (183 m) wide touched down for over a mile (1.6 km), damaging more than 60 homes. The Holly Branch meetinghouse sustained serious damage, and the branch president’s home was heavily damaged. Thousands of people in the affected areas were left without gas and power.

All missionaries and Church members were reported safe. Local Church welfare leaders worked to meet the needs of Church members and the community.

Church Assists Caribbean Flood and Landslide Victims

The Church assisted residents of Hispaniola, the Caribbean island shared by the countries of Haiti and the Dominican Republic after at least 11 people died and more than 1,000 homes were damaged or destroyed by flooding and landslides on March 27.

The disasters, caused by more than three days of intense rain, isolated 20 towns and led to the evacuation of more than 4,000 people. The Church authorized the Caribbean Area Presidency to use funds to purchase essential emergency relief items for those affected by the disaster.

Members, Missionaries Safe Following Japan Quake

Early on Sunday, March 25, an earthquake measuring 6.9 on the Richter scale shook the Hokuriku region of Japan. The quake, centered just offshore, killed one person, destroyed several roads and 50 homes, and severely damaged more than 200 homes, schools, and other buildings.

Shortly after the quakes, two six-inch (15-cm) tsunamis hit the coast but caused no damage.

All members and missionaries in the region were safe and accounted for following the quakes, though multiple aftershocks plagued the area.

Members’ Homes Damaged in New Mexico Tornadoes

A series of tornadoes touched down overnight in the state of New Mexico, USA, on Friday, March 23. Local Church members responded quickly to distribute food, water, and hygiene kits to those in the affected area. Volunteers from local LDS congregations assisted in the cleanup.

The tornadoes destroyed 24 homes and businesses in Clovis and Logan, New Mexico, where they did the most damage. More than 100 homes, businesses, and schools in the area reported damage.

Despite minor damage to some members’ homes, all members and missionaries were safe. No casualties were reported in the affected areas.

Members Feed Community after Jakarta Floods

After a devastating flood hit parts of Jakarta, Indonesia, in early February, members of the Church living in the area set up a food kitchen to prepare meals for more than 500 people displaced by the floods.

With funding from LDS Charities, the members were able to provide two meals a day and deliver them to those who had to relocate because of the floods.

Members of the Church gathered all the food and supplies, then set up a makeshift kitchen under a tent. This service was reminiscent of the 2002 floods in Jakarta, when Church members also set up temporary kitchens to prepare food for displaced community members.

Missionaries serving in the Jakarta area also assisted with the cooking and delivering of the food. It is estimated that rising waters drove almost 50,000 people from their homes.

Members of the Church in Jakarta prepared two meals a day for approximately 500 people displaced by floods.