The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the Philippines has taken precautions in anticipation of Typhoon Haiyan. Church leaders have been evaluating resources and making specific preparations for the storm for the past week, and they will work with local authorities and relief agencies to provide assistance as the storm progresses.
The storm is forecast to hit the Visayas region of the Philippines, and it may impact nearly two-thirds of the country. Officials are warning that the storm has the potential to cause widespread damage.
Church buildings in areas near the storm’s anticipated path are already being used as shelters for those in need of safer housing, and more buildings will be used as needed.
The Church has 21 missions in the Philippines. Mission presidents have taken precautions to protect the safety and well-being of missionaries, moving them to alternate housing where necessary.
“If there is any concern about the safety of an area, we move our missionaries out of that area,” said Stephen B. Allen, Missionary Department managing director. “We’ve known about this storm for some time, and all mission presidents have moved missionaries to areas where they believe they can be adequately sheltered from the typhoon.”
The Church stands ready to assist affected communities during and after the storm. Emergency response resources have been secured, including food, water and other supplies (items such as blankets, hygiene supplies, tarps, chain saws and shovels).
As the storm progresses, local Church leaders and Welfare Department personnel will make assessments and coordinate with local authorities and response partners to determine needed assistance and future relief efforts.
NEWS RELEASE — 8 NOVEMBER 2013
Church Opens Its Doors to Evacuees
Updated 11/9/2013 Relief on the Way
Based on latest reports gathered by the Emergency Monitoring Center of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Philippines Area, a total of 14,000 individuals from different parts of the Visayas, Eastern Mindanao and Sorsogon have taken shelter at 200 Church meetinghouses.
Typhoon Yolanda which made landfall Friday morning slammed Samar and moved to different parts of Visayas, Eastern Mindanao, Mindoro and Palawan, and is expected to exit the Philippine Area of Responsibity (PAR) November 9 at 9:00 am.
Mobile communications with Tacloban, one of heavily flooded areas, continue to be down until this time. It was reported in GMA 7 last night that their news crew walked from Tacloban to Palo, Leyte for 6 hours. The crew reported that water and food are badly needed in Tacloban.
Both Interior Secretary Manuel Roxas II and Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin sent to Tacloban to oversee relief efforts remain incommunicado until this time.
Jairus Perez, Manager of Humanitarian Services/ LDS Charities, left early this morning to establish communications with members and missionaries of Tacloban as well as facilitate the delivery of food and hygiene kits to people affected and those in the evacuation centers. Mormon Helping Hands volunteers are asked to help repack food and hygiene kits in the Cebu Stake (diocese) Center.
Before Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) struck the Philippines, LDS Church members and missionaries already made necessary preparations.
Local leaders of the different stakes (dioceses) and congregations took precautions, opening meeting houses for shelter for those who needed it ahead of the storm and moving missionaries to alternate housing where necessary, according to an announcement from the Church.
“If there is any concern about the safety of an area, we move our missionaries out of that area,” said Stephen B. Allen, Missionary Department managing director, in the release. “We’ve known about this storm for some time, and all mission presidents have moved missionaries to areas where they believe they can be adequately sheltered from the typhoon.” Church officials also prepared to assist affected communities.
Last night, President Benigno Aquino III in a nationwide telecast urged people to leave high-risk areas and said the storm surge could reach up to 7 meters.
Speaking on the 24th and strongest typhoon to hit the Philippines this year, Aquino said, “No typhoon can bring Filipinos to their knees if we’ll be united.”
Evacuees at the Carajay Meetinghouse in Lapulapu City (Mactan) take shelter as early as the 7th of November as they braced for the strongest typhoon to hit the Philippines this year.
Alagang Kapatid Foundation, a consistent partner with LDS Charities in many humanitarian projects, visited and helped serve the evacuees at the meetinghouse in Matnog, Sorsogon while a volunteer answers calls and queries at the Emergency Monitoring Center.
Reports: Typhoon Haiyan kills up to 1,200 in Philippines
Sunshine de Leon, Doyle Rice and Gary Strauss, USA TODAY8:20 a.m. EST November 9, 2013
MANILA — Up to 1,200 people have died as a result of Super Typhoon Haiyan, the Philippine Red Cross said Saturday, according to Reuters and CNN.
Haiyan, one of the most powerful storms ever recorded, crashed across the central islands of the Philippines Friday before heading west toward Vietnam.
There were reports of widespread power outages, flash floods, landslides and scores of buildings torn apart. Capt. John Andrews, deputy director general of the Civil Aviation Authority, said civil aviation authorities in Tacloban reported that the seaside airport terminal was "ruined" by storm surges, though military planes were still able to land with relief aid.
Because communications in the Philippines were cutoff, it remained difficult to determine the full extent of casualties and damage.
"We expect the level of destruction caused by Typhoon Haiyan to be extensive and devastating, and sadly we fear that many lives will be lost," said Anna Lindenfors, Philippines director of Save the Children.
"With this magnitude we know that the destruction is overwhelming," said Emma Amores, who was waiting outside Villamor Airbase in Manila, where a C-130 was loading relief supplies and personnel heading to hard-hit Tacloban. "From the images we saw on TV, it's highly likely our houses are gone. We just want to know that the family are all safe."
Houses destroyed by Typhoon Haiyan in Tacloban, on the eastern island of Leyte in the Philippines. Noel Celis, AFP/Getty
Romil Elinsuv, who is in Manila for work training, worried about his wife and 4-year-old son who are at their home in Palo, a town in the province of Leyte.
"I feel fear. I don't know what the situation is there," Elinsuv said. He said he spoke with his wife the day before. She assured him they were OK, but then the line went dead, and he's been unable to reach her since.
The category-5 storm made landfall Friday morning at Guiuan, a small city in Samar province in the eastern Philippines. Weather officials said Haiyan, known as Yolanda in the typhoon-prone Philippines, had sustained winds of 147 mph with gusts of 170 mph when it made landfall.
Haiyan's sustained winds weakened Saturday to 101 mph. The center of the storm was moving away from the Philippines and into the South China Sea, but high winds were still battering the country. The storm was expected to make landfall Sunday morning in central Vietnam.
Vietnamese authorities in four central provinces began evacuating more than 500,000 people from high risk areas to government buildings, schools and other concrete homes able to withstand strong winds.
"The evacuation is being conducted with urgency and must be completed before 5 p.m.," disaster official Nguyen Thi Yen Linh by telephone from central Danang City, where some 76,000 are being moved to safety.
Hundreds of thousands of others were being taken to shelters in the provinces of Quang Ngai, Quang Nam and Thua Thien Hue. Schools were closed and two deputy prime ministers were sent to the region to direct the preparations.
Contributing: Doyle Rice and Gary Strauss reported from McLean, Va.; Calum MacLeod from China; Korina Lopez, Michael Winter, USA TODAY; Nick Penzenstadler, The Post-Crescent in Appleton WI.; Associated Press.
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