Disaster Relief
November 2009

“Disaster Relief,” Ensign, Nov. 2009, 128

Disaster Relief

Tsunami Strikes South Pacific Islands

Church members are helping their neighbors and each other clean up after a magnitude-8.0 quake triggered a tsunami in the South Pacific on September 29, 2009.

The quake and tsunami waves killed more than 180, leaving hundreds missing or injured and destroying numerous buildings. Some 140 were confirmed dead in Samoa, with more than 30 in American Samoa and 9 in Tonga. The dead included at least 26 Church members—22 in Samoa and 4 in neighboring American Samoa.

Local priesthood leaders helped with immediate needs, including distributing food, water, and hygiene items. Priesthood leaders have also worked with government officials and relief organizations to organize a long-term response. The Church helped provide a planeload of relief supplies sent from Salt Lake City on October 6.

Philippines, Vietnam Hit by Typhoons

The Church and Church members mobilized to provide relief after Typhoon Ketsana pummeled the Philippines and Southeast Asia, killing more than 300 people in September and October 2009.

The storm first made landfall in the Philippines, displacing half a million people. More than 560,000 people were evacuated to more than 600 camps. Among the more than 275 confirmed deaths were 12 Church members. Another 14 were missing. The flooding destroyed 44 member homes and damaged 223 others. At least 25 meetinghouses suffered flood damage, and another 25 were used as temporary shelters.

In Vietnam, the typhoon killed more than 40 people in flooding and landslides. Some 200,000 people were evacuated from central provinces before the storm hit. All Church members and missionaries in Vietnam are safe and accounted for.

The following week, Typhoon Parma reached the northern provinces of the Philippines, killing at least another 160 people.

Multiple Earthquakes Devastate Indonesia

An earthquake with a magnitude of 7.6 struck 30 miles (50 km) off the coast of the Indonesian island of Sumatra on September 30, 2009. A second quake, this one a magnitude 6.8, struck nearby the next day.

At least 1,100 people were killed, and hundreds more were injured, many trapped beneath rubble and displaced earth. The quake destroyed hospitals, schools, shopping malls, bridges, and roads. It cut power lines and triggered landslides.

All Church members are safe, and no damage to Church property has been reported; the epicenter of the quake was 500 miles (800 km) from any members.


An earthquake and tsunami devastated parts of the Samoan Islands just prior to general conference.

AP Photo/New Zealand Defence Force, New Zealand Herald