Mormon missionaries serving in Puerto Rico and islands nearby are being temporarily evacuated to the mainland U.S. The islands have lost their electricity due to hurricane damage, and there are acute shortages of food and clean water.
The more than 150 missionaries look forward to returning to aid with cleanup and rebuilding as soon as basic infrastructure is restored. Puerto Rico has a single Mormon mission and 23,000 church members in 41 congregations.
The Church updated its statement on hurricanes Irma and Maria.
The Church is mobilizing humanitarian resources to help. This includes providing food, water and other commodities to the islands in that region. Additional supplies will be sent in the future to help with recovery and reconstruction efforts as we better assess the situation.
At the current time, non-perishable food items are being sent from the Church’s welfare system to Puerto Rico. In addition, arrangements have been made with a few large grocery store chains on the island to purchase bulk items to support members of the Church and the community. A supply of building materials, including plywood, roofing materials, nails, tools and tarps, is being shipped from the U.S. mainland. The Church is also working with the Red Cross and other relief agencies to support their efforts to shelter displaced residents, distribute food and other essentials, and provide home repair materials. Relief efforts are likewise underway in Mexico in response to the recent earthquakes there.
In addition, the Caribbean Area Presidency provided the following statement:
We have been collaborating with local priesthood leaders located at the most affected areas in order to assess the situation of our members, missionaries, meetinghouses and the situation in general. At the present time, our greatest interest is to safeguard human lives and evaluate the situation in order to identify the best way possible to help those in need and cooperate with efforts from local authorities. As we assess the situation, we’re confident that effective ways to help as necessary will be identified.