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News Release

Church Leaders Prepare for an Eventual Volcano Eruption in Saint Vincent

Earthquakes associated with La Soufrière Volcano have affected the northern part of Saint Vincent for the last month.

Since late March, an elevated level of volcano-tectonic earthquakes associated with La Soufrière Volcano have affected the northern part of Saint Vincent. On March 26, the activity stopped but local authorities currently report nearly 500 tremors per hour associated with the continuous growth of its dome, which has doubled in size and increased gas emissions in the last month.

As a result, some fifty families who are members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints who live on the island have been preparing for a possible eruption. Leaders of the Church are preparing humanitarian services and have authorized the purchase of food hampers while other important resources will soon be shipped to the country. Currently, there are no missionaries living in Saint Vincent.

Church representatives have signed an agreement with the National Emergency Management Organization (NEMO) and Salvation Army to assist in response efforts for Church members and the community. The most pressing needs in this situation are no-perishable food, water, hygiene items, etc.

“The Church's emergency response committee is coordinating efforts to help safeguard the lives and well-being of members, as well as help them prepare, both at the individual and family level”, said Josue Vanderhorst, Self-reliance and Welfare Manager of the Church in the Caribbean Area.

Officials from NEMO have indicated that “no evacuation order has been issued but [they] encourage residents of the communities close to the volcano to be prepared in the event that it becomes necessary to evacuate at short notice.” The alert level remains at orange.

In addition to the preparation Church leaders and members are undertaking, sisters from the Church’s Relief Society, the largest worldwide organization of women, are meeting at 6:00 every morning to offer a pray for the situation. They are also getting ready to serve others in case of an emergency.

Leaders and Church members are planning a Joint Prayer Day on Wednesday April 14. They are inviting all islanders, government officials, and faith leaders of other churches to pray together for protection amidst the situation. More details about this initiative will be available soon.

Preparing for emergencies

Leaders of the Church in the Caribbean designated March as the Emergency Preparedness Month, with community workshops about home storage and the use of the 72-hour kit, which prepares families and individuals with the most important items to survive the first three days following an emergency. More details about this initiative can be found at caribbean.churchofjesuschrist.org.

The Church humanitarian efforts

Caring for the poor and needy is a foundational belief of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Built on the principles of personal responsibility, community support, self-reliance and sustainability, humanitarian efforts are designed to give individuals and communities the tools they need to improve their own circumstances in permanent and meaningful ways.

Latter-day Saints Charities, the humanitarian arm of the Church, was created in 1985 in response to the Ethiopian famine. The Church called for a special fast and monetary donation among its membership. Since then, the Church has responded to many other needs around the world.

When a disaster strikes, Latter-day Saints work with local Church leaders, government officials and trusted partners to determine what supplies and food are needed. Materials are then purchased or assembled locally or shipped from Latter-day Saint storehouses. After urgent needs are met, the Church looks for additional ways to aid in long-term efforts.

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