Cyclone Pam Updates
Cyclone Pam Update
AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND —
Update: 17 March 2015, 3.20pm
Within the last hour the Vanuatu Port Vila Mission President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Larry Brewer, made contact with missionary leaders on the island of Tanna. The missionary leaders confirmed that all 11 missionaries on Tanna are accounted for and safe.
The Church is chartering a small plane tomorrow from Port Vila to Tanna. Two missionaries will be on board with food and other supplies to give much needed relief to those suffering from the effects of Cyclone Pam. The plane will also be used to bring the 11 missionaries on Tanna back to Port Vila.
Update 17 March 2015, 1.30pm
Latter-day Saint leaders in Vanuatu confirmed this morning that missionaries serving on Efate, Santo, Malekula and Gaua islands are accounted for and safe. Efforts are continuing in establishing contact with missionaries on other outer islands.
Church leaders in Port Vila purchased food and other emergency supplies yesterday which are being distributed to Church members and others who are sheltering at Church buildings, as well as others who have moved back to their properties in order to start rebuilding their homes.
Hans Sorensen, Gary Winters and Garrick Parr, from the Church’s Pacific Area Office in Auckland, are flying to Port Vila tomorrow to support local leaders in meeting the needs of people affected by the cyclone. This includes setting up partnerships with other churches and agencies for faster and more efficient aid distribution.
Latter-day Saint missionaries in Port Vila are helping families clean up their properties, and in some cases starting to rebuild their homes.
There are over 6,000 Latter-day Saints in Vanuatu, and 31 congregations.
Update 16 March 2015
Reports from Latter-day Saint leaders in Fiji and Tuvalu confirmed today that all missionaries in the Fiji Suva Mission are accounted for and safe following Cyclone Pam’s destructive impact on the weekend.
In the neighbouring Vanuatu Port Vila Mission of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, all missionaries on the main island of Efate are in Port Vila and are safe.
Due to communication lines still being down to the outer islands of the Vanuatu archipelago, contact with missionaries serving in these locations has not yet been made. Efforts are ongoing to make contact with and support these missionaries, Church members and others in these outer islands.
Vanuatu Port Vila Mission President, Larry Brewer, confirmed today that all missionaries in the mission, including those on remote islands, were notified before the cyclone arrived, and moved to the safest location in each respective island.
Many Church members and others on the island of Efate have lost their homes and are sheltering in Latter-day Saint meetinghouses.
Water supplies are being restored in many parts of Port Vila this week. However, power is still out across the nation. Some buildings are being powered by generators.
Military aid flights are coming into Port Vila daily, and some commercial flights will begin into the capital from this afternoon.
Church leaders in Vanuatu and at the Church’s Pacific Area Headquarters are working with governmental and non-governmental organisations to identify needs and provide support.
Those who wish to support the people of Vanuatu may wish to consider donating to the Church’s humanitarian fund through their local congregation or via LDS Philanthropies.
A blog has been set up at the Church’s Pacific Area Headquarters for families of missionaries in the Vanuatu Port Vila Mission so latest information can be shared. These families will be contacted shortly so they can access this blog.