Flooding Displaces Hundreds of Members, Destroys Homes in Guyana and U.S.
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“Flooding Displaces Hundreds of Members, Destroys Homes in Guyana and U.S.” Liahona, June 2005, N4–N5

Flooding Displaces Hundreds of Members, Destroys Homes in Guyana and U.S.

More than 260 member-owned homes were destroyed or damaged by heavy flooding in the South American nation of Guyana and in Arizona, Nevada, and Utah in the United States. Church aid is ongoing.

Church Relief Helps Thousands in Flooded Guyana

After more than 40 inches (100 cm) of rain fell in three weeks in Guyana during January causing severe flooding, the Church’s relief effort began swiftly. A shipment of food, medicine, and water was en route to Guyana within 24 hours of the official government request.

“One of the reasons they came to us was that we are well known for our quick response,” said Garry Flake, Church director of emergency response.

After the initial shipment, the Church also sent three containers of clothing to the country.

Seventy percent of the supplies went to the general population and 30 percent went to Church members. The Church also helped supply immediate relief to members needing assistance by providing fast-offering funds.

The floods have affected more than half of the country’s 750,000 residents and killed at least 6 people. Although none of the country’s 1,600 members was injured or killed, the high waters did force 120 members from their homes.

One meetinghouse, which is the only Church-owned building in the country, was damaged by the rain and could not be accessed for several days. A rented meetinghouse was flooded and received major damage. Both meetinghouses are located in the greater Georgetown area. Several feet of water could be found in some areas of the buildings.

In the capital city of Georgetown, at least 120,000 people have been affected by the floodwaters. Estimates predict that more than 40 percent of those affected are children.

The Church continues to monitor the situation in the country, and if the need for more supplies arises, the Church will continue to help, Brother Flake said.

Church News contributed to this article.

Church Offers Relief after Flood, Mudslide

After heavy rains and torrential flooding in Arizona, California, Nevada, and southern Utah destroyed or damaged more than 200 homes, members in those areas continue to work to get their lives and homes back in order or help others do so.

Flooding in Arizona, Nevada, and Utah affected members in 7 stakes, destroying 25 member homes and damaging 117 more. Although no lives were lost there, the floodwaters ravaged a considerable amount of farmland, particularly in southern Utah.

The St. George Utah Green Valley Stake was hardest hit. In that stake alone 18 member homes were destroyed and 36 were damaged. In the Mesquite Nevada Stake, 4 homes were destroyed and 28 were damaged.

In La Conchita, California, a mudslide killed 10 people and destroyed or damaged more than 30 homes. In response, local members volunteered labor and assisted local agencies.

Church-sponsored relief efforts in Utah, Arizona, and Nevada began quickly after the flooding began. The Church contributed to the relief effort in three steps.

The first step consisted of local Relief Societies and priesthood groups volunteering to help with whatever assistance was needed soon after the flooding began. This included finding housing for those displaced because of the flood.

The second step involved the Church making donations to Red Cross chapters in Nevada and Utah. Several Church buildings were used as Red Cross shelters. Many Church members assisted in overseeing the operations of the shelters.

The third step entailed the Church donating food and hygiene items taken from the St. George, Utah, bishops’ storehouse to food pantries and community shelters. Wheelbarrows and shovels were provided to cleanup crews.

For some, one thing that makes the destruction more bearable is the volunteer work done by others. “There was a tremendous amount of volunteer efforts,” said Garry Flake, Church director of emergency response.

Seminary students from high schools in St. George helped clean up in and around homes that were flooded or damaged.

Hundreds of thousands of Guyanans sought shelter and supplies after severe flooding affected more than half of the country’s residents. (Photograph courtesy of Associated Press.)

A St. George, Utah, home collapses into a flooded river that eroded away the home’s foundation. (Photograph by Scott G. Winterton.)