Church assisting during refugee crisis; no members harmed in Chile quake

The First Presidency has approved a three-pronged humanitarian project in response to what has been called the largest movement of refugees on the European Continent since World War II.

Nearly half a million migrants and refugees have arrived in Europe this year, according to the United Nations High Commission to Refugees. Most of the refugees hail from areas in the Middle East ravaged by war and civil conflict.

The initial phase of the Church’s humanitarian response to the refugee crisis is being executed in three ways, said LDS humanitarian response manager Jeff Foy.

First, the Church is partnering with various international humanitarian organizations to deliver resources needed to meet the immediate needs of refugees impacted by the crisis.

Second, the Europe Area Presidency is forming an advisory council made up of business and community leaders from nations across the Continent. The council will serve under the direction of the Area Presidency and identify and report on refugee needs as they develop.

“The advisory council will be made up of Church members and others who are not members of the Church,” said Brother Foy.

And third, the Church is setting aside resources for European wards and stakes to support projects in individual communities.

Brother Foy said Church welfare officials would continue to monitor the refugee situation in Europe and implement future projects, as needed.

Meanwhile, no members or missionaries were harmed in a massive Sept. 16 earthquake that claimed 11 lives and caused significant damage in coastal towns in north-central Chile.

The magnitude 8.3 quake reportedly rumbled for more than three minutes and could be felt across the country.

“The earthquake did not have a large impact on Church members,” said Brother Foy.

Two member homes were left uninhabitable. Meanwhile, the earthquake toppled the steeple of the Salamanca Branch, Illapel Chile District, meetinghouse. The structural damage was cosmetic and members are continuing to use the Salamanca building.

Brother Foy said welfare officials would continue to monitor the recovery effort in Chile. Local priesthood leaders have utilized fast offerings to help impacted members with food and other immediate needs.

[email protected] @JNSwensen

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