Through its humanitarian efforts, the Church reacts to the devastation inflicted.
In the Caribbean, the effects of Hurricane Fiona include torrential downpours, hurricane-force winds, flooding, displaced families, substantial property damage, disruption of basic services, and even human deaths.
In response, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has started a series of initiatives to assist authorities and community groups in coping with the crisis and mitigating the harm caused by this natural disaster.
Approximately 65,000 impacted households on the French island of Guadeloupe, Puerto Rico, and the Dominican Republic have received assistance. The aid aims to give food, water, hygiene products, and other emergency supplies, as well as human support through Helping Hands volunteers, who will carry out cleaning and debris clearance, as well as aid distribution. The Church will continue to offer extra support and relief.
In addition to its direct acts, the Church will give support through organizations to 17 emotional resilience centers in Puerto Rico managed by the international charity Mercy Corps, where water, food, and other vital emergency supplies will also be distributed.
Josue D. Vanderhorst, manager of welfare and self-reliance for the Caribbean Area of the Church, stated, “In the Caribbean, we are strong believers in Jesus Christ with a high degree of resilience. As the Church teaches, the greatest thing we can do is to be prepared for these occurrences. This provides us with the task of dealing with families who lose their possessions, homes, and sometimes even loved ones.” In light of the traumas that a situation such as this might generate, he stated that the Church also gives assistance and emotional support.
“Our Heavenly Father remembers his children and answers their prayers, no matter how severe the circumstance, therefore we aim, in a sense, to be a part of that response by delivering what is required to those who need it most and in the shortest time possible. As Christians, we are sensitive to and supportive of the suffering of others, so the least we can do is to be there and respond humbly with what we have within our grasp; extending a hand as the Savior Jesus Christ would,” he said.
In the Dominican Republic, Hurricane Fiona was responsible for the loss of human life, the displacement of more than 12,000 people, the flooding of rivers, streams, and ravines, landslides, and significant material loss, as well as breakdowns in the electrical system, damage to agricultural areas, and communication outages in the provinces of El Seibo, La Romana, and La Altagracia.
In collaboration with the Rotary Club of the Dominican Republic, contributions will be utilized to aid individuals affected in the country’s eastern and northeastern areas, including providing food, clothes, and medication to those whose houses were destroyed by the storm.
Despite the destruction, church officials in each region have confirmed that all church members and missionaries are safe. There have been no losses that are irrecoverable. The majority of Church structures are in fair shape, with the exception of El Seibo and La Romana meetinghouses in the Dominican Republic, which sustained slight damage from fallen trees and other things.
They highlight the significance of emergency preparations “The Church educates its members to prepare and act in these circumstances, both at the family and congregational levels and at the communal level. This involves effective communication for the care of the most impacted individuals “George Marmol, head of the La Romana stake, which encompasses the majority of afflicted regions, stated as much.
In addition to widespread power outages and deadly floods in Puerto Rico’s urban and rural areas, the island’s center and southern regions were particularly hard hit. More than a million people are apparently still without electricity, around 800,000 without access to clean water, and about a thousand families have been unable to migrate, while in some areas 30 inches of rain have fallen.
The World Food Program, Project HOPE, and the Red Cross have authorized humanitarian relief initiatives for Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic. Other significant projects for the Caribbean region are also under consideration.
As it moved past the French territory of Guadeloupe on Friday, September 16th, Hurricane Fiona also caused damage and flooding across the island.
On Friday, September 16, Hurricane Fiona blew across the French territory of Guadeloupe, inflicting devastation and flooding across the island.
Following the hurricane, missionaries and Church members assisted locals, distributed water and cleaning materials, and cleaned homes and impacted areas.
Accounts of Hope
Internally, among Church congregations and their members, emergency plans have been launched, and via the local leadership in each town, the self-reliance program is giving assistance to impacted Church members. Up to this point, about 350 families in Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic have benefited from our activities.
Andrés F. Tapia, the bishop of El Seibo’s La Manicera area, related: “As soon as the hurricane passed, I visited a sister, and when we saw that her home had been completely destroyed, we sobbed together since she is a resourceless lady who lives day to day. She and many others do not, however, lose faith. As a result of the Church’s present efforts to provide urgent assistance, she and others have hope and are grateful for the support they receive.”
At another local church congregation, the president of the elders quorum (a local leader) accommodated a brother who had lost all of his possessions. These sorts of gestures give many individuals hope.
The president of the Hato Mayor branch, Nicolás Nez, stated: “In a broad sense, I could see how the storm wreaked havoc on the town, but I am thankful for the chance to serve in the Lord’s work and to assist my sisters and brothers recognize that this is only a trial. Because we are not alone, it is essential to continue forward and persist.”
The actions will proceed
Regarding the situation in Puerto Rico, Vice President Joe Biden proclaimed a state of emergency, releasing government cash for humanitarian efforts.
The Dominican Republic’s president, Luis Abinader Corona, issued a similar declaration, while France’s interior minister, Gérald Darmanin, declared a state of natural disaster for the French islands, which is anticipated to take effect in the following days.
The National Hurricane Center of the United States predicts that the rain will continue, with the possibility of more flooding. It is anticipated that the center of Fiona will pass near the British Turks and Caicos Islands.
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