MANILA, Philippines — While providing initial relief in the remote southern portion of Luzon Island in the Philippines, the Church is continuing to assess the damage done by Typhoon Durian.
At least two member children died in the disaster that included mud slides, wind damage and flooding, according to a Church welfare report from Salt Lake City. It also stated that more that 600 member families were affected by the results of the typhoon, but that all missionaries were safe.
Transportation and communication continued to be a challenge in the Bicol area four days after the typhoon struck on Friday, Dec. 1, according to an e-mail report from Anna Lenore Pilobello of Church public affairs in the Philippines. The area is about 250 miles southeast of Manila on the same island. Some places can be reached only on motorcycle or by foot. Communication lines were down and there was a lack of running water.
In early assessments, according to the Church report out of Salt Lake City, two meetinghouses sustained serious water damage and more than 40 meetinghouses were used to temporarily shelter members and others.
By midweek, the Associated Press reported that there were officially 526 dead and 740 missing in the Philippines as a result of the typhoon, but that the Red Cross believed more than 1,000 died in the thousands of homes buried under volcanic debris, mud and floodwaters.
As a result of the typhoon, in Albay province entire villages disappeared under tons of mud and volcanic debris that cascaded down the slopes of the Mayon Volcano, according to the Associated Press. It added that more than 1 million people in 13 provinces were affected, and about 20,000 have gone to evacuation centers.