Wednesday, January 13, 2010

LDS Church Joins Numerous Entities In Providing Aid After Disastrous Haiti Earthquake; Nearly One-Third Of Haiti's Population Affected By The Quake

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has joined the growing list of entities worldwide expressing their intent to provide assistance to Haiti after the disastrous January 12th, 2010 earthquake which has left most of the capital city, Port-au-Prince, in shambles. The death toll is expected to climb into the tens of thousands, and could exceed 100,000 when it is all over. Accompanying media story from the Deseret News.

According to the official LDS Church press release, the Church offers its sympathy and prayers on behalf of the citizens of Haiti following the earthquake, and is immediately shipping humanitarian relief, including personal hygiene kits and supplies for newborns. Efforts are underway to determine further humanitarian response in coordination with government and disaster relief organizations. Those who want to donate to the LDS Church's efforts can do so HERE. Unofficial LDS sources also discussing aid for Haiti include By Common Consent, the Millennial Star, and Mormon Mommy Wars.

The LDS Church also reports that all of its missionaries serving in Haiti are safe, and they continue their efforts to account for Church members in the area. According to official Church statistics, there are 15,489 Church members spread out over 30 different congregations (which may either be wards or branches, depending upon their size).

Update: A subsequent statement issued by the LDS Church provides more specific details on the type of aid. Two planes, one departing from Denver as early as Thursday January 14th and another leaving from Miami later this week, will each include over 80,000 pounds of food and emergency resources such as tents, tarps, water filtration bottles and medical supplies donated by the Church. Transportation is being provided by Airline Ambassadors and Food for the Poor will aid with distribution in Haiti. These new shipments are in addition to emergency supplies already trucked in from the Dominican Republic.

The urgency of this situation cannot be over-emphasized. According to one CNN report, officials fear more than 100,000 people have died, and the capital, Port-au-Prince, home to 2 million of the country's 10 million people, is described as "flattened". The Red Cross estimates that about 3 million people nationwide have been affected by the quake. The following video of a Coast Guard flyover of the area provides some semblance of magnitude:

And here's another report provided from the scene by Carol Smith of Logan, Utah, who went to Haiti on a 10-day humanitarian mission:

Video Courtesy of

A BBC story provides a partial list of major entities gearing up to provide aid to Haiti. Reuters also reports that private corporations are also getting involved, most notably UPS and Wal-Mart. This appears to be a truly international effort where petty rivalries are being set aside for the common good.

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