Hurricane Irma and Maria Updates

Hurricane Irma and Maria Updates

Latest News

 

October 5: Mormon Leaders Offer Hope and Comfort in Puerto Rico

September 22: Update on Humanitarian Efforts After Hurricanes Irma and Maria

September 16: President Eyring Provides Lift to Helping Hands in Florida

September 15: President Eyring Offers Support in the Caribbean After Hurricane Irma

September 13: Atlanta Stages Distribution of Supplies in Aftermath of Hurricane Irma

September 6: Church Preparing for Hurricane Irma

Mormon Leaders Offer Hope and Comfort in Puerto Rico
October 5, 2017 at 9:45 a.m.

Latter-day Saint leaders recently traveled to Puerto Rico to offer hope and comfort residents of the island following two recent hurricanes that struck the Caribbean. Elder Walter F. González, Caribbean Area President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and his wife, as well as Elder Julio C. Acosta, an Area Seventy, visited Puerto Rico September 29 through October 2, 2017, to see the damage caused by Hurricane Irma and Hurricane Maria.

"Seeing the island from the air for the first time was a very emotional experience,” said Elder González. “It appeared as if the very life of the island had been violently swept away.”

Elder González and other Church leaders met with government officers to establish a procedure to ship relief supplies to the Caribbean island. They also counseled with local Church bishops and Relief Society presidents about providing spiritual and temporal relief to members and other residents.

Much of Puerto Rico remains without power. The distribution of food, water and other supplies is challenging due to damaged roads and long lines for fuel and food.

Despite severe communication challenges, the Church Welfare Department reports more than 40 containers of ocean shipments have been sent so far to various islands in the Caribbean, including Puerto Rico, St. Thomas, St. Croix, St. MartIn and other locations.

The shipments contain food, water, building materials, hygiene kits and cleaning supplies. In addition, one plane loaded with 80,000 pounds of food and water has been delivered to Puerto Rico. 

Elder González and other Mormon leaders also attended local worship services in chapels where members had gathered to watch general conference and assemble food kits. The Mormon Helping Hands volunteers, including youth, wore yellow T-shirts and vests to organize the food and water for distribution.

During a general conference address last weekend, President Henry B. Eyring of the First Presidency said some people are now calling Mormon Helping Hands volunteers “The Yellow Angels” for their service in Florida following Hurricane Irma. President Eyring visited Puerto Rico after Hurricane Irma hit the island.

There are more than 23,000 Latter-day Saints in Puerto Rico.

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Update on Humanitarian Efforts After Hurricanes Irma and Maria
September 22, 2017 at 4:15 p.m.

                                            

The Church provided the following update about humanitarian efforts impacting those affected by hurricanes Irma and Maria:

There is currently great need existing in Puerto Rico and the surrounding islands, and all those who have been impacted by hurricanes Irma and Maria are in our thoughts and prayers. The Church is mobilizing humanitarian resources to help. This includes providing food, water and other commodities to the islands in that region. Additional supplies will be sent in the future to help with recovery and reconstruction efforts as we better assess the situation.

At the current time, non-perishable food items are being sent from the Church’s welfare system to Puerto Rico. In addition, arrangements have been made with a few large grocery store chains on the island to purchase bulk items to support members of the Church and the community.

A supply of building materials, including plywood, roofing materials, nails, tools and tarps, is being shipped from the U.S. mainland. The Church is also working with the Red Cross and other relief agencies to support their efforts to shelter displaced residents, distribute food and other essentials, and provide home repair materials. Relief efforts are likewise underway in Mexico in response to the recent earthquakes there.

We can confirm that all missionaries are safe and accounted for. However, the islands in the region are largely without power, water and food is in short supply. Missionaries, who have been engaged in cleanup efforts since the storm's passing, are being transferred from the islands in the Puerto Rico San Juan Mission and temporarily reassigned in other areas until basic needs can be met, and then they will return to help.

In addition, the Caribbean Area Presidency provided the following statement:

We have been collaborating with local priesthood leaders located at the most affected areas in order to assess the situation of our members, missionaries, meetinghouses and the situation in general. At the present time, our greatest interest is to safeguard human lives and evaluate the situation in order to identify the best way possible to help those in need and cooperate with efforts from local authorities. As we assess the situation, we're confident that effective ways to help as necessary will be identified.

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President Eyring Provides Lift to Helping Hands in Florida
September 17, 12:00 p.m.

President Henry B. Eyring, first counselor in the First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, visited Florida Saturday and Sunday, September 16-17, 2017, to minister to victims of Hurricane Irma in Naples and Jacksonville. Approximately 7,500 Mormon Helping Hands were in force throughout the state to clean up damage caused by the destructive hurricane. Read more.

                                    

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President Eyring Offers Support in the Caribbean After Hurricane Irma
September 15, 4:30 p.m. MDT

President Henry B. Eyring, first counselor in the First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, visited with government officials and ministered to local Mormons and residents in the Caribbean Friday, September 15, 2017, in the wake of destructive Hurricane Irma, which battered the islands a week ago.

                                                                                                                                                                

“Some of you have family or friends who have had more emotional stress than you even know,” President Eyring told Latter-day Saints gathered at an impromptu devotional in St. Thomas. The normally pristine resort island’s leafless trees and overturned aircraft tell the story of the pounding it received. “Go to family and neighbors over a long period of time,” President Eyring said. “That will give them a confidence that has been shaken. [God] lives. He is close by. He got me here today.” Hurricane Irma was one of the most powerful hurricanes ever in the Atlantic and its winds turned tropical lush neighborhoods into barely recognizable streets.

President Eyring was joined by Bishop Dean M. Davies of the Presiding Bishopric and General Authority Seventy Elder Jörg Klebingat. In the morning, they stopped in San Juan, Puerto Rico, then flew in the afternoon to St. Thomas. Read more.

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Atlanta Stages Distribution of Supplies in Aftermath of Hurricane Irma
September 13, 2017, 2:00 p.m. MDT

In the aftermath of destructive Hurricane Irma, the Church has positioned supplies in Atlanta, Georgia, to be taken to the hurricane damaged areas. By the end of the week, these supplies will be distributed by thousands of Mormon Helping Hands volunteers.

                                                

                                                                                               

Initial Statement on Hurricane Irma
September 6, 2017

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has released the following statement on Hurricane Irma:

As this serious hurricane has approached the Caribbean and continues in its path west and north, we have taken important steps to prepare. Members and missionaries have been given instruction on seeking shelter, gathering food and water and preparing for the days ahead. As necessary, missionaries have been or will be moved to other locations. As it has for other disasters, the Church is monitoring this situation closely and preparing to respond with relief and recovery efforts as soon as possible. During this critical time, the people of these regions are in our thoughts and prayers.

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