Church Delivers Aid to Flood Victims in Mexico
Contributed By Church News
The Church continues to offer a hand to the thousands of Mexicans who have been impacted by deadly floods that stretched across much of the nation.
The full-time missionaries in many regions of Mexico have played an essential role in delivering both needed provisions and a measure of hope to flood-weary Mexicans of all backgrounds. Local members have also been utilized in a variety of humanitarian roles. Their efforts were combined with ongoing supply assistance from Church headquarters and the Mexico Area.
More than 100 people were killed in flood-related incidents following the recent two-fisted storm disaster in late September. Massive floods were caused by several days of rain brought by Tropical Storm Manuel and Hurricane Ingrid. The two weather events simultaneously pounded both of Mexico’s coasts. The historic rains triggered flooding that closed highways and triggered deadly landslides.
No members or missionaries were seriously injured, although floodwaters inundated the homes of hundreds of members. No Church buildings were seriously damaged.
The reach of Tropical Storm Manuel and Hurricane Ingrid stretched across almost the entire nation. Twenty-four of Mexico’s 31 states were impacted. Almost 60,000 people were evacuated from their homes, and tens of thousands were forced to find temporary lodging in disaster shelters. Meanwhile, dozens of key highways were damaged, temporarily isolating many communities, including the tourist destination of Acapulco.
The Church stepped forward following the disaster, providing food, water, hygiene kits, and other basic supplies. Wherever there was a need, members and missionaries stepped forward and offered help.
In the Mexico Cuernavaca Mission, for example, missionaries have been working shoulder-to-shoulder with members to assist those in need—including many living in remote regions of the mission. The missionaries from the Chilpancingo Zone accompanied members from the Obrera Ward, Chilpancingo Mexico Stake, to a small village that was dramatically affected by the hurricane. The members and missionaries embarked on a two-hour walk through the mountains on a mud trail carrying bags of rice, beans, ramen noodles, and other materials. The provisions were then distributed to villages that were in need, according to Cuernavaca Mission President Bruce C. Kusch. Other missionaries volunteered at a local branch of Mexico’s National Family Development Organization. There they made bags of hygiene kits and assembled wheelbarrows. The items were then loaded on a large truck to be delivered to families affected by the storms.
Missionaries were also dispatched to the Galeana Colony located at the edge of the inundated Oacapa River. All the homes in the colony were covered and filled with mud and many families lost nearly all they owned. The missionaries spent two days helping families from all backgrounds shovel mud from their homes and dispose of possessions ruined in the flood, according to President Kusch.
Mexico is home to some 1.2 million members and more than 200 stakes.
The flooding in the Western Hemisphere was not limited to Mexico. The Church and local members also offered relief supplies and volunteers during the recent flooding in Colorado. There members and missionaries provided more than 21,000 hours of service to disaster victims. Church Humanitarian Services also shipped 90,000 pounds of food, water, and other emergency provisions to affected areas of the state.