The devastating earthquake in Haiti has shattered millions of lives, but the relief efforts and outpouring of support by organizations and individuals worldwide offer hope. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has been working diligently since the disaster to provide aid to the people of Haiti through its humanitarian aid program. Hundreds of thousands of pounds of relief supplies have arrived already, and more are being shipped.
“Our hearts ache for the people of Haiti and our prayers are with them as we witness the unimaginable suffering they are experiencing,” said Bishop H. David Burton, presiding bishop of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, who oversees the Church’s humanitarian program. “We are grateful for the many generous donations that enable the Church to provide extensive relief in Haiti, as well as other parts of the world.”
Relief Supplies Provided by the Church
Three air shipments of aid provided by the Church have arrived and are being used in Haiti. They include food, medical supplies, tents, water filtration bottles, blankets, newborn kits, wheelchairs, first aid kits and other items. Those three flights include a total of nearly 225,000 pounds of relief supplies. The Church provided the transportation for one of those flights, and CARE and United Airlines provided transport for the other two.
Two more flights are scheduled to leave from Miami by this weekend, and additional flights are planned from Chicago. United Airlines again is providing the transportation for the Chicago shipments, and Islamic Relief USA is providing part of the transportation costs for the Miami shipments. Plans are also being made for future shipments.
Additionally, three truckloads of relief supplies have arrived in Haiti with supplies the Church procured in the Dominican Republic.
A team of five medical personnel coordinated by the Church arrived on Friday, 15 January, from the Dominican Republic to assist the injured. Another team of 16 medical professionals from the United States arrived on 18 January and are currently providing care for those who need it. “It means so much to these people to know that somebody knows that they are here,” said Brandon Hall, a doctor from Mapleton, Utah.
The Deseret News has been following the doctors and has published these stories on the work they are doing:
Church Meetinghouses as Shelters
All of the Church’s meetinghouses in Haiti have been left largely undamaged. Local Church leaders report that nine chapels in Haiti have been used to shelter as many as 5,000 people in local communities where the chapels are located. Several truckloads of food and other relief supplies have been shipped to the chapels, and doctors sent by the Church have provided treatment to injured individuals who are taking shelter there.
Church Member and Missionary Status
Among the millions of people affected by the earthquake in Haiti are thousands of Latter-day Saints. As reported last week on Newsroom.lds.org, all Latter-day Saint missionaries in Haiti are accounted for and safe. They are now participating in the relief efforts and have been helping unload relief supplies at the Church’s meetinghouses. At this point, 20 members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints have died as a result of the quake, and hundreds more have injuries.