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News Release —  8 November 2013

Typhoon Yolanda Update: All Missionaries Found Safe, Relief Continues

All Tacloban Missionaries are Safe and Accounted for

Manila — 

UPDATE (12 November 2013 - 9:28 am Philippine Time)  The latest advisory from the Philippines Area Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints states that ALL missionaries from the Tacloban Mission were found safe.  This means that all missionaries from the 21 missions in the Philippines are accounted for. Parents and family have been contacted of the good news.  Provision of relief goods in Tacloban and Northern Cebu continues.

From Church Headquarters: UPDATE (11 November 2013 - 10:45 a.m. MST) In recent hours, Church leaders have made significant progress establishing contact with missionaries in the Philippines Tacloban Mission. All missionaries have been contacted with the exception of 24 missionaries serving primarily in one location where communications have been especially difficult. Church representatives are doing everything possible to contact missionaries and have been providing updates to family members of missionaries regarding their status as soon as they become available. Local Church leaders continue to determine the safety and well-being of Church members in the impacted areas and to seek out ways to assist others affected by the typhoon. 

From Church Headquarters: UPDATE (10 November 2013 - 11:00 p.m. MST) Elder W. Craig Zwick, an executive director in the Church's Missionary Department, reported this evening that, "Church leaders continue to make contact with missionaries throughout the Tacloban Mission in the Philippines, and all those we have been able to reach are safe. We anticipate that as we continue to re-establish communication, the remaining missionaries will be located and found well. We unite our faith and prayers with others in behalf of the people of the Philippines." 

November 8, 2013

Based on latest reports gathered by the Emergency Monitoring Center of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Philippines Area, a total of 14,000 individuals from different parts of the Visayas, Eastern Mindanao and Sorsogon have taken shelter at 200 Church meetinghouses.

Typhoon Yolanda which made landfall Friday morning slammed Samar and moved to different parts of Visayas, Eastern Mindanao, Mindoro and Palawan, and is expected to exit the Philippine Area of Responsibity (PAR) November 9 at 9:00 am.

Mobile communications with Tacloban, one of heavily flooded areas, continue to be down until this time.  It was reported in GMA 7 last night that their news crew walked from Tacloban to Palo, Leyte for 6 hours.  The crew reported that water and food are badly needed in Tacloban. 

Both Interior Secretary Manuel Roxas II and Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin sent to Tacloban to oversee relief efforts remain incommunicado until this time.

Jairus Perez, Manager of Humanitarian Services/ LDS Charities, left early this morning to establish communications with members and missionaries of Tacloban as well as facilitate the delivery of food and hygiene kits to people affected and those in the evacuation centers. Mormon Helping Hands volunteers are asked to help repack food and hygiene kits in the Cebu Stake (diocese) Center.

Before Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) struck the Philippines, LDS Church members and missionaries already made necessary preparations.

Local leaders of the different stakes (dioceses) and congregations took precautions, opening meeting houses for shelter for those who needed it ahead of the storm and moving missionaries to alternate housing where necessary, according to an announcement from the Church.

“If there is any concern about the safety of an area, we move our missionaries out of that area,” said Stephen B. Allen, Missionary Department managing director, in the release. “We’ve known about this storm for some time, and all mission presidents have moved missionaries to areas where they believe they can be adequately sheltered from the typhoon.” Church officials also prepared to assist affected communities.

Last night, President Benigno Aquino III in a nationwide telecast urged  people to leave high-risk areas and said the storm surge could reach up to 7 meters.

Speaking on the 24th and strongest typhoon to hit the Philippines this year, Aquino said, “No typhoon can bring Filipinos to their knees if we’ll be united.”

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Evacuees at the Carajay Meetinghouse in Lapulapu City (Mactan) take shelter as early as the 7th of November as they braced for the strongest typhoon to hit the Philippines this year.

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Alagang Kapatid Foundation, a consistent partner with LDS Charities in many humanitarian projects, visited and helped serve the evacuees at the meetinghouse in Matnog, Sorsogon while a volunteer answers calls and queries at the Emergency Monitoring Center.

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Typhoon Yolanda

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