LDS Church offering aid across the globe

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Throw a dart at a map of the world and it will likely land somewhere, within a country or two, where the Church is providing support for people caught in the midst of tragedy and disaster.

From Idaho to Yemen, from Peru to Myanmar, the Church’s Humanitarian Response Office is involved in relief projects in almost all corners of the globe. Some areas visited by catastrophe are heavily populated by Latter-day Saints. Other distressed areas being served have no significant Church presence.

“Whatever the need, we do our best to help those in need and work with the priesthood leadership in those areas,” said the humanitarian response director Bruce Muir.

• In the Caribbean island of Dominica, flooding and mudslides from Tropical Storm Erika claimed the lives of over 20 people and destroyed homes and other key structures.

No Latter-day Saints were harmed during the storm and no Church buildings were damaged.

The Church is partnering with the International Red Cross, providing provisions to those in need.

“Our members in Dominica are involved and helping others,” Brother Muir said.

• In the Middle Eastern nation of Yemen, the Church is working with the International Medical Corps to deliver pharmaceutical supplies to victims of that nation’s raging civil war.

The provisions will be dispersed to all areas of Yemen where, amid the violence, people are facing shortages of food, water and medicine.

Brother Muir said the Church enjoys a long-established friendship with IMC. The two organizations worked together in Africa during last year’s Ebola crises.

• In Peru, the Church recently provided blankets, mattresses and other provisions to communities affected by deadly frigid weather in several high-altitude regions. More than 400 people died from ailments related to cold weather. Peru is home to hundreds of thousands of Latter-day Saints and many members live in affected regions. Brother Muir said there are no reports of any member deaths.

Church headquarters personnel are working with the local priesthood and welfare leaders to deliver the cold weather provisions to impacted areas.

• In southeast Asian nation of Myanmar, severe flooding has claimed more than 100 lives and affected more than a million people.

The Church is providing basic provisions such as food, water and cooking supplies.

• Wildfires have scorched thousands of acres across the western United States. Three member families lost their homes to the blazes.

Brother Muir said local congregations have assisted affected members and a few families sought shelter in Church meetinghouses.

“We also sent two truckloads of hay to farms in Idaho to feed [displaced] livestock,” he said. @JNSwensen

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