Hundreds of fire victims in the Philippines take shelter at Latter-day Saint meetinghouse

Hundreds of victims from a recent fire that destroyed more than 300 homes are staying at a meetinghouse of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Agdao, Davao City, on one of the southern Philippine islands.

The meetinghouse opened as a shelter after the March 9 blaze was declared out, and more than 70 families — nearly 400 people — were staying there 10 days after the fire, according to the Philippines Newsroom. Shelters have been set up outside the building to help accommodate all the families.  

Initially, five Latter-day Saint families took shelter at the building. 

“We have much space,” said Bishop Eric Danao of the Agdao Central Ward, who is leading the Church’s effort in helping fire victims, “and it is available for those who are in need in times like this, regardless of faith.” 

He said that all the evacuees were provided rooms or tents, temporary bath cubicles, water and fans. A few house rules have been set to manage the evacuees and keep the building safe and sanitary. 

Latter-day Saint Charities, in partnership with RGMA Super Radyo, has also distributed insect repellent to the fire victims. 

“These insect repellents will significantly help protect the evacuees, considering their present conditions in our centers,” said Barangay Captain Remedios Dela Luz of the donations.  

There are 805,209 members of the Church in the Philippines, with 115 stakes and 63 districts and 1,239 congregations, including 721 wards and 518 branches, according to Newsroom.