LDS Charities responds to emergencies throughout the world on a regular basis. Below is a list of projects and initiatives that LDS Charities was involved with during December 2017 and January 2018.
Southern California Fires and Mudslides
On December 4, 2017, the Thomas Fire started in Southern California. Due to severe Santa Ana winds of over 50 mph (80 kph), the fire burned more than 280,000 acres (113,312 hectares) of land over several weeks and destroyed more than 1,000 structures. LDS Charities provided supplies to help with fire cleanup efforts and also helped organize member volunteers who assisted with the fire. Read more on Mormon Newsroom.
On January 9, 2018, heavy rains in Southern California lashed the burned-out hillsides in Montecito, causing a massive landslide. Twenty people were killed and thousands more affected as the slides blocked major highways and caused mandatory evacuations. LDS Charities provided cleanup supplies and helped organize volunteer efforts for cleaning up the mudslide’s debris.
Severe Tropical Storm Vinta struck the Mindanao area of the Philippines, causing mudslides and widespread flooding. Some areas experienced between 50 and 100 millimeters of rain. Almost 800,000 people were affected in over 1,000 different villages spread across the area. LDS Charities is working with the TV5 Alagang Kapatid Foundation and the Office of the Vice President, both trusted partners that LDS Charities has worked with before. With these organizations, LDS Charities is helping to provide necessity kits that include food items such as rice, sardines, sugar, and instant noodles. LDS Charities is also working with partners to provide sleeping mats and pads, kitchen essentials such as pots and pans, and 2,000 hygiene kits with soap, toothpaste, and sanitary pads.
Typhoon Damrey was a category 2 tropical storm that struck Vietnam in early November. This massive storm caused almost US$1 billion in damages to Vietnam. In 2018, LDS Charities is working with the provincial Red Cross, the Department of Foreign Affairs, and the People’s Committees to help repair a medical clinic and replace its damaged equipment.
Zambia Cholera Outbreak
An outbreak of cholera in Zambia has resulted in the deaths of more than 106 people across the country. A mandatory curfew has been set in place in the township of Kanyama to stop the spread of disease, and street vending and public gatherings have been banned in the capital city of Lusaka. Initially, the outbreak of cholera was thought to be caused by contaminated wells. However, investigations showed that contaminated food was the main culprit. LDS Charities is working with the Zambian Ministry of Health to bring in clean water and food.