Hurricane Ike: Church sends relief to Texas, Haiti; LDS volunteers give service

Church supplies reached victims of Hurricane Ike — a devastating storm that struck Texas Sept. 13 causing billions of dollars in damage and leaving 2.6 million people without power — immediately after the disaster.

Authorities have reported a total of 48 deaths in 10 states as Ike moved from Texas northeastward across the U.S. midsection. No missionaries or Church members were injured in the disaster.

However, approximately 600 members took shelter in more than 20 Church buildings during the storm. Many member homes received water and roof damage. As many as 10 Church buildings sustained minor damage in the disaster; the Church building on Galveston Island was damaged but found to be in better condition than anticipated, according to a Church Welfare report.

In order to respond to immediate welfare needs, the Church prepositioned relief supplies in the area. Additional supplies were sent to the area after the storm. Total Church response to Hurricane Ike included:

• 80,640 hygiene kits (six truckloads).

• 8.064 cleaning kits (four truckloads).

• Four truckloads of water.

• 11,520 blankets (two truckloads).

• 4,800 food boxes (four truckloads) which include rice, vegetable oil, peanut butter, fruit drink mix, and assorted canned goods. Each food box will feed a family of four for a week to 10 days.

• Food, water, generators, sleeping bags, tools, chain saws, tarps and other items.

Hurricane Ike, as well as hurricanes Fay, Gustav and Hanna, also wreaked havoc in Haiti, where all missionaries are safe. As of press time Sept. 18, no members had been reported injured in Haiti.

The Church sent two planeloads of supplies to Port-au-Prince in response to the disasters, arriving Sept. 10 and Sept. 18. The shipments included 20,720 hygiene kits, hand soap, plastic sheeting, hammers and nails.

In addition to the supplies, the Church purchased food and other relief items in Haiti, where local Church members will assist in assembling and distributing the relief supplies.

Welfare Services also plans a longer-term response in Haiti, where school kits and hygiene kits will be distributed in coordination with the Ministries of Education and Health.

As part of that effort, 100,800 school kits (12 ocean containers) will be sent to Port-au-Prince and distributed throughout the country. In addition, the components for 100,000 school kits will be sent to Haiti and assembled by Church members. And the Church will send eight ocean containers containing 89,600 hygiene kits to Haiti, according to Church Welfare Services.

Hurricanes that devastated Haiti also hit many U.S. cities. The Church sent 19 truckloads of supplies to Louisiana in response to hurricane Gustav. Those supplies included 101,920 hygiene kits, 18,144 cleaning kits, 1,200 food boxes and water, sleeping bags, tools, chain saws, tarps and other items.

More than 2,519 man days of labor has been provided by Church members volunteering with Gustav-related clean-up efforts.

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