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Church lends hand on disaster-stricken island

Photo by Jaymi WongAdorned in bright yellow Mormon Helping Hands vests members and full-time missionaries gathered to help residents in flooded sections of Hong Kongs Lantua Island. Volunteers performed a variety of humanitarian tasks.
A torrential downpour on June 7 caused devastating floods and landslides that cut road access and water supplies to Tai O a remote community of 2000 people on Lantau Island in Hong Kong. The rain storm caused major flooding in other cities of southern China as well.
Acting swiftly on a request from the Hong Kong Family Welfare Society of Tai O local Church leaders working with LDS Charities and the China Hong Kong Mission recruited more than 80 volunteers — Church members and missionaries — to provide two days of help to the disaster-stricken islanders.
The first day 34 member volunteers arrived. Wearing bright yellow Mormon Helping Hands vests they delivered bread and bottled water to about 90 single elderly residents who live by themselves.
One 85-year-old woman whose mobility is limited by five surgeries remarked The bread smells so good; I havent had any bread for days. She seldom has visitors and was delighted to see concerned volunteers in her home.
Other volunteers were sent to clear up mud and debris from the land slides that filled and blocked houses. It took two teams of 10 volunteers working four hours to remove mud and debris out of several houses and yards. In many cases buckets of mud had to be carried 60 to 80 yards to be dumped.
One 19-year-old volunteer said that while he was exhausted after the days effort he could sleep well that night knowing he had given his best to someone who needed a helping hand.
On the second day the China Hong Kong Mission sent 53 missionary volunteers to continue the clean-up effort. It was probably the first time such a large group of Mormon Helping Hands carried out an emergency relief project in Hong Kong.
One resident of the sleepy town commented Today there seems to be more volunteers in Tai O than residents.
A district councilor from the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the Peoples Republic of China shook hands with the volunteers and thanked the Church leaders for their assistance that week. One resident told news reporters that she appreciated the efforts of Church members and missionaries. She hoped they would return if further help was needed. President Lee Van Dam of the China Hong Kong Mission reassured that his missionaries would support future emergency responses pledging Were ready to do it again.
At the end of the day as the volunteers walked through the narrow streets of Tai O to return home several residents recognized the yellow vests and cheered in Chinese Ga Yau Ga Yau Do Jeh (Carry on carry on thank you) missionaries of Jesus Christ.
One appreciative spectator said The love of man radiates good will; today I see sunshine instead of rain.

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