Church members safe after 8.2 earthquake in Guam, tropical storm in Venezuela

All missionaries and members were reported safe following an intense earthquake that rattled the tiny island of Guam for nearly a minute on Aug. 8.

And in Venezuela, all missionaries and members were also reported safe and uninjured after a severe tropical storm struck early Sunday, Aug. 8.


In Guam, only a few minor injuries among the island's population were reported following the strongest earthquake on the island in 84 years, one that registered 8.2 on the Richter scale. The prevention of injury was largely attributed to sturdy buildings made to withstand tropical storms.

Neither the Church nor the members experienced any property damage, according to Pres. Lyle Bowen. Pres. Bowen of Idaho Falls, Idaho, is a counselor to Micronesia Guam Mission Pres. Gordon S. Thatcher, who was on Kosrae, about 700 miles from Guam, when the earthquake struck about 6:35 p.m. on Sunday, Aug. 8.

"It was what the missionaries called `awesome,' " said Pres. Bowen. "The cars were just bouncing around. We wondered how much shaking - how much motion - can one little island sustain? You would feel a lot safer on a bigger island, like the United States."

He and his wife, Jacquelin, crawled beneath a table to ride out the quake. "Things were just being tossed about. It was just moving these big apartments around. We wondered how long it would last."

After the earthquake, missionaries reported to their zone leaders who in turn reported to mission headquarters. As soon as the missionaries were accounted for, they checked with local branch presidents and members.

Pres. Bowen said people feared a giant tidal wave or a tsunami, would form, but none was reported.

He said that missionaries have been instructed to assist members and non-members when clean-up efforts begin.


In Venezuela, Pres. Dean L. Larsen of the Venezuela Caracas East Mission reported that no members were killed or injured, nor was any Church property damaged by the storm.

"I was out on the islands when the storm struck, and just the tail end of the storm hit there," said Pres. Larsen.

Tropical Storm Bret dumped five inches of rain in seven hours. High winds in Caracas contributed to mud slides that killed up to 150 people and left 5,000 homeless who lived in small homes on the hills ringing the city.

The storm dissapated after leaving Venezuela, but reformed a day later and damaged areas in Panama and Costa Rica.

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