Humanitarian relief efforts by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are under way in earthquake zones in Ecuador and Japan. Food, water and other necessities are being provided to communities in the impacted regions in South America and Asia. Some Church meetinghouses are also being used for temporary shelter.
A powerful 7.8-magnitude quake struck near the northern town of Muisne, Ecuador, Saturday, April 16. The quake was felt throughout the country and in border areas of Colombia and Peru. There have been more than 300 aftershocks.
The death toll in Ecuador has risen to more than 650 people with thousands injured. Members of the Church are among the dead and injured. The Ecuador country Newsroom site reports 11 members of the Church in Manta and Portoviejo were killed. All of the Mormon missionaries serving in the area are safe, although some have been relocated from damaged apartments. More than 20 meetinghouses received minor damage. Fourteen meetinghouses are being used for community shelters.
The Church’s Welfare Department is coordinating its efforts with civil defense authorities to deliver assistance to the victims. The Mormon Helping Hands program is also supporting Ecuadorian authorities in preparing aid kits for affected families.
On April 14, Japan was struck by a magnitude 6.0 earthquake in the Kumamoto City region. A strong tremor of 7.1 occurred in the same region on April 16. More than 600 aftershocks have been recorded.
Nearly 50 people in Japan were killed and more than 1,000 people were injured. All missionaries and members in Japan are safe. Church meetinghouses are reported as structurally sound, as is the Fukuoka Japan Temple. Local meetinghouses in the Kumamoto, Tsuboi and Shimizu areas are being utilized for community shelters.
For more information on the Ecuador quake, visit the Ecuador country Newsroom site (in English and Spanish).
To learn more about Church efforts in the aftermath of the twin earthquakes that struck Japan, go to the Japan country Newsroom site (in Japanese).
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.