“Disasters in Various Countries Affect Lives of Church Members,” Ensign, Mar. 2002, 76–77
Church members in Peru, Brazil, Australia, and Tonga were affected by disasters that struck their countries in late December and early January.
Two members perished and one member family lost their home in Lima, Peru, when a series of fireworks set a crowded market street on fire. Nearly 1,000 people were reported dead or missing. One of the members killed was a young woman who had just received her mission call and was shopping for clothes for her mission. The other was the daughter of a local bishop.
The Church provided $5,000 to purchase bandages and other medical supplies, which were donated to local hospitals.
In Petropolis, Brazil, a Church member was killed, 10 member families lost their homes, and a meetinghouse was slightly damaged when torrential rains and mudslides hit the state of Rio de Janeiro. A total of 50 people lost their lives, and 300 homes were destroyed in the disaster. Displaced members were assisted by local members and leaders using local welfare funds.
In Australia, two member families lost their homes when bushfires burned near Sydney, destroying more than 100 houses and forcing the evacuation of several thousand people. Two meetinghouses in the vicinity of the fires were made available for emergency use, and local welfare resources were used to assist the members who lost their homes.
Eleven member families lost their homes when Cyclone Waka struck the Vava‘u Island group in Tonga. Emergency relief supplies, including tarps, chainsaws, nails, and plastic water containers, were shipped to the area from Church temporal offices on Tonga’s main island of Nuku‘alofa.