Church Begins Humanitarian Efforts After Hurricanes Irma and Maria

Contributed By MormonNewsroom.org

  • 25 September 2017

President Henry B. Eyring, First Counselor in the First Presidency, observes the work Mormon Helping Hands volunteers are doing to help Latter-day Saints and their neighbors recover from Hurricane Irma. President Eyring was in the Caribbean and Florida meeting with and comforting people.

Article Highlights

  • All missionaries are safe and accounted for.
  • Some missionaries have been temporarily reassigned to other areas until basic needs can be met, and then they will return to help.

The Church provided the following update September 22 about humanitarian efforts impacting those affected by hurricanes Irma and Maria:

There is currently great need existing in Puerto Rico and the surrounding islands, and all those who have been impacted by hurricanes Irma and Maria are in our thoughts and prayers. The Church is mobilizing humanitarian resources to help. This includes providing food, water, and other commodities to the islands in that region. Additional supplies will be sent in the future to help with recovery and reconstruction efforts as we better assess the situation.

At the current time, non-perishable food items are being sent from the Church’s welfare system to Puerto Rico. In addition, arrangements have been made with a few large grocery store chains on the island to purchase bulk items to support members of the Church and the community. A supply of building materials, including plywood, roofing materials, nails, tools, and tarps, is being shipped from the U.S. mainland. The Church is also working with the Red Cross and other relief agencies to support their efforts to shelter displaced residents, distribute food and other essentials, and provide home repair materials. Relief efforts are likewise underway in Mexico in response to the recent earthquakes there.

We can confirm that all missionaries are safe and accounted for. However, the islands in the region are largely without power, water and food is in short supply. Missionaries, who have been engaged in cleanup efforts since the storm's passing, are being transferred from the islands in the Puerto Rico San Juan Mission and temporarily reassigned in other areas until basic needs can be met, and then they will return to help.

In addition, the Caribbean Area Presidency provided the following statement:

We have been collaborating with local priesthood leaders located at the most affected areas in order to assess the situation of our members, missionaries, meetinghouses, and the situation in general. At the present time, our greatest interest is to safeguard human lives and evaluate the situation in order to identify the best way possible to help those in need and cooperate with efforts from local authorities. As we assess the situation, we're confident that effective ways to help as necessary will be identified.