Members and missionaries of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are providing relief efforts to victims of Cyclone Winston on the islands of Fiji. The cyclone, the worst storm recorded in the Southern Hemisphere, hit the region more than a week ago on the weekend of the rededication of the Suva Fiji Temple.
Thousands of people are living in temporary shelters. More than 1,000 people took refuge in a dozen Latter-day Saint meetinghouses.
Church leaders are working closely with government agencies and nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) to provide food, water, tents, hygiene packs and other emergency supplies to communities in need.
On the Fiji island of Taveuni, one of the most severely hit locations, the Church is delivering emergency supplies, removing debris from properties and helping to rebuild homes. Many houses were flattened, and temporary shelter and water are urgently needed. According to Fiji national director of public affairs for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Sulueti Kama, “There are around 9,000 people who live on the island — 1,900 of whom are Latter-day Saints.”
Members from Nausori have delivered food and hygiene items to about 2,000 families whose homes were damaged or destroyed. A relief team was also sent to Naitasiri villages. The food packs included rice, flour, sugar, noodles, tin fish and oil. The hygiene packs had soap, candles, matches and insect repellant.
In addition to donations from local Latter-day Saints, the humanitarian arm of the Church is working in partnership with the Ministry of Health and UNICEF in preparing more hygiene kits, washing kits, water purification tablets and school kits.
The temple was not damaged and all missionaries are safe. Church properties are being assessed for damage. Twenty-four of the Church’s 38 meetinghouses inspected so far have minor damage. More than 40 people were killed. There have been no reports of member casualties or injuries.
For more information, visit the Pacific Mormon Newsroom.
Aleah is a graduate of Southern Virginia University, where she studied English, Creative Writing, and Dance. She now works full time as a marketing and product manager, writer, and editor. Aleah served a mission in California and loves baking, Lang Leav poetry, Gaynor Minden pointe shoes, and Bollywood movies.