Church Opens Its Doors to 14,000 Typhoon Evacuees
14,000 take refuge in Mormon chapels after Typhoon Haiyan
November 11, 2013
Updated 11/9/2013 Relief on the Way
MANILA — Based on latest reports gathered by the Emergency Monitoring Center of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Philippines Area, a total of 14,000 individuals from different parts of the Visayas, Eastern Mindanao and Sorsogon have taken shelter at 200 Church meetinghouses.
Typhoon Yolanda which made landfall Friday morning slammed Samar and moved to different parts of Visayas, Eastern Mindanao, Mindoro and Palawan, and is expected to exit the Philippine Area of Responsibity (PAR) November 9 at 9:00 am.
Mobile communications with Tacloban, one of heavily flooded areas, continue to be down until this time. It was reported in GMA 7 last night that their news crew walked from Tacloban to Palo, Leyte for 6 hours. The crew reported that water and food are badly needed in Tacloban.
Both Interior Secretary Manuel Roxas II and Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin sent to Tacloban to oversee relief efforts remain incommunicado until this time.
Jairus Perez, Manager of Humanitarian Services/LDS Charities, left early this morning to establish communications with members and missionaries of Tacloban as well as facilitate the delivery of food and hygiene kits to people affected and those in the evacuation centers. Mormon Helping Hands volunteers are asked to help repack food and hygiene kits in the Cebu Stake (diocese) Center.
Before Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) struck the Philippines, LDS Church members and missionaries already made necessary preparations.
Local leaders of the different stakes (dioceses) and congregations took precautions, opening meeting houses for shelter for those who needed it ahead of the storm and moving missionaries to alternate housing where necessary, according to an announcement from the Church.
“If there is any concern about the safety of an area, we move our missionaries out of that area,” said Stephen B. Allen, Missionary Department managing director, in the release. “We’ve known about this storm for some time, and all mission presidents have moved missionaries to areas where they believe they can be adequately sheltered from the typhoon.” Church officials also prepared to assist affected communities.
Last night, President Benigno Aquino III in a nationwide telecast urged people to leave high-risk areas and said the storm surge could reach up to 7 meters.
Speaking on the 24th and strongest typhoon to hit the Philippines this year, Aquino said, “No typhoon can bring Filipinos to their knees if we’ll be united.”
Humanitarian outreach by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is benefitting many people throughout the country through dozens of non-profit organizations in Utah and surrounding states.