Early in January 2014, a massive cyclone hit the island group of Ha’apai, leaving destruction in its wake. As soon as the storm hit, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (often inadvertently referred to as the Mormon Church) mobilized its resources to provide fast relief to those affected by the storm.
Severe Cyclone Damage
Tropical Cyclone Ian created severe damage throughout Tonga, and hit Ha’apai the hardest. One woman was killed during the storm. The storm caused damage to buildings as well as to power and communication systems. Complete recovery from the storm will take many months.
Despite the overwhelming damage left by the cyclone, The Church of Jesus Christ was ready and able to act quickly to begin providing relief.
Mormons Mobilize–and Fast
The first boat sent from the island Nuku’alofa contained fresh water, food, chainsaws, water filters, generators, as well as plenty of other emergency supplies. Mormons in the area also pooled their resources to donate more food, clothing, blankets, and other supplies that were quickly sent to Ha’apai.
The Church of Jesus Christ has a far-reaching humanitarian program that includes relief from the headquarters in Salt Lake City, as well as relief from local members and missionaries. All Mormon missionaries serving in Tonga have been safely accounted for, and currently those missionaries are helping in the relief efforts.
In addition to the immediate shipments of supplies to Ha’apai, The Church of Jesus Christ donated US$25,000 to help purchase more supplies like food, generators, tarpaulins, ropes, and other needed items. Local Mormon congregations are drawing upon their fast offerings (monetary offerings to the Church) to aid in the relief efforts.
Mormon Humanitarian Aid Reaches Worldwide
The humanitarian efforts of The Church of Jesus Christ reach the furthest corners of the earth and are often some of the first relief efforts to reach the disaster victims. The cyclone fallout in Tonga is no exception. Through an inspired combination of both local and Salt Lake – based relief, Tongans who need help can receive it quickly.
The Mormon humanitarian program is funded entirely by tithes and fast offerings supplied by members, and the monies are managed and distributed by church leadership. The Church of Jesus Christ believes strongly in ministering to those in need and takes necessary and appropriate action to reach all those who need help.
Charlotte graduated from Brigham Young University with a bachelor's degree in English, with an emphasis in editing. During her education she interned with the Neal A.Maxwell Institute for Religious Scholarship, BYU Publications, and the New Era magazine. Charlotte currently lives in Portland, Oregon, with her husband and son. She's a stay-at-home-mom and has been able to keep up her writing through maintaining a personal blog (smallandtrivial.blogspot.com).