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Church and Islamic Relief send aid to Samoan islands to aid earthquake and tsunami victims

Just two hours after a deadly earthquake-generated tsunami inundated coastal regions of the Samoan islands on Sept. 29 local priesthood and Relief Society leaders were on the ground delivering assistance to victims of the historic disaster.
Now relief is arriving through the air.
Michael Brandy Deseret NewsWorkers load 150000 pounds of relief supplies donated by the Church and the Islamic Relief Worldwide onto a DC-10 to be flown to Samoa.
A Church-chartered DC-10 aircraft filled with 150000 pounds of relief supplies was expected to take off from the Salt Lake City International Airport early this afternoon and arrive in Western Samoa late Tuesday local time. By mid-day Wednesday folks who continue to endure the disaster could be enjoying a welcome meal and a fresh change of clothing from items included in the emergency airlift.
Church leaders are calling Tuesdays air shipment a supplement to the assistance that has already been provided in the Samoas.
Within two hours [after the quake] we had our priesthood leaders on the ground in the devastated areas assessing the needs of the members and their neighbors said Elder James J. Hamula of the Seventy who serves as second counselor in the Churchs Pacific Area. Within hours relief was being given to those in distress.
Michael Brandy Deseret NewsJason Peterson and others help load 150000 pounds of relief supplies donated by the Church and the Islamic Relief Worldwide onto a DC-10 to be flown to Samoa at the Million Air Cargo terminal.
The bulk of the shipment consists of essential provisions needed by victims who were in some instances left with nothing besides the clothes on their backs: food hygiene items clothing bedding mosquito nets wheelchairs and crutches.
The donations of our members — be it in money or goods — is what makes these relief items possible said Elder Hamula.
Michael Brandy Deseret NewsSione Tuione left and Henery Pole load 150000 pounds of relief supplies donated by the Church and the Islamic Relief Worldwide onto a DC-10 to be flown to Samoa at the Million Air Cargo terminal.
The Church partnered with the international humanitarian assistance organization Islamic Relief to cover the cost of chartering the cargo plane. That groups communications manager Mostafa Mahboob said Islamic Relief has developed a relationship of trust and friendship with the Church while working together in the aftermath of catastrophes such as Hurricane Katrina.
Were able to come together in a time of need when disaster strikes said Mr. Mahboob.
When the air shipment arrives in Samoa a team of workers will unload the massive payload place the various items on trucks and move them to the Churchs warehouse in Samoa (formerly Western Samoa). Then the items will be transported to affected regions to be distributed by the local priesthood leaders to members and others in need. Canned boxed and bagged food items from the shipment include corn peaches rice pears beef stew and dried milk.
Tuesdays Samoa-bound air shipment will bring immediate relief to the victims — but the Church anticipates offering additional assistance in the future as local leaders turn their attention to rebuilding homes and helping members find adequate shelter. The Churchs long-term assessment of the disaster is ongoing according to Peter Evans of the Churchs Welfare Department.
The Churchs capacity to respond quickly and efficiently is a reflection of the Christian discipleship of its members worldwide said Elder Hamula. They are following the Saviors example to feed the hungry and clothe the naked.
When there is a need our people — who believe in Jesus Christ — respond.
For LDS Samoans and their friends the catastrophic events of Sept. 29 will forever be remembered with sadness. Elder Tad R. Callister of the Seventy and first counselor in the Churchs Pacific Area Presidency flew to Samoa Tuesday Oct. 6. He said 25 Church members – four in American Samoa and 21 in Samoa – died in the disaster. As of Monday Oct. 5 three Church members remained missing.
Elder Callister said all the Latter-day Saints who lost homes have a place to stay now either with family friends or at one of two LDS meetinghouses used as shelters.
He said many members also lost crops in the disaster and will need to replant. Others will need building supplies. Plans [to help them] are being made as we talk he said.
For now however all the processes are working he said. They have food shelter and clean water.

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