March 1 2016. Just before Suva Temple, in the Fiji Islands, was rededicated, Cyclone Winston, the worst storm registered in the Southern Hemisphere hit the region hard, at a speed of 175 miles per hour, devastating hundreds of homes.
The apostles resisted the cyclone with the people of Fiji
The elders Henry B. Eyringof the First Presidency, and Quentin L. Cook, of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints were on the island, along with Elder Cook's wife and some authorities, when they were the reports of the cyclone that was approaching at full speed. Instead of canceling the rededication of the temple, the elders moved from the hotel to a safer place (the mission house) and resisted the passage of the cyclone there. This allowed them to continue the program and rededicate the temple despite the state of emergency.
Elder Adolf J. Johansson, Area Seventy, commented on this fact as follows:
"It was a powerful message that a member of the First Presidency and a member of the Quorum of the Twelve came here to live this experience with us. We never feel alone as members of the Church. We feel that the Brothers were with us ...
"They did not say 'We are praying for you'. The message they left us is 'We are here, waiting and praying with you' ".
How is the church organized to provide help
The members of the church and missionaries of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints were quick to help. In circumstances such as these, church leaders work in conjunction with the government and with non-governmental agencies (NGOs) to provide food, water, tents, hygiene kits and other emergency supplies to communities in need. Likewise, the chapels and meeting centers of the Church quickly become centers of refuge. More than 1,000 people stayed in chapels of the church to take refuge.
The help on the island of Taveuni
On the island of Fiji Taveuni, which was one of the most damaged locations, the church is delivering emergency packages, removing debris from the properties and helping the villagers rebuild their homes. According to the national director of public affairs of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Fiji, there are around 9,000 people living on the island, and some 1,900 of them are Latter-day Saints.
The help on the island of Nasouri
Members of Nasouri They have delivered food and hygiene items to about 2,000 families whose homes were damaged or destroyed. A relief team was also sent to the villages of Naitasiri . The food packages include rice, flour, sugar, noodles, fish and oil. The hygiene packages contain soap, candles, matches and insect repellent.
In addition to donations from local Latter-day Saints, the humanitarian arm of the church works in conjunction with the ministry of health and with UNICEF preparing more hygiene kits, wash packs, water purification tablets and school kits.
In a few words: the final report
The temple was not damaged and all the missionaries are safe. The properties of the church are being evaluated for damage. 24 of the 38 church meeting centers that have already been inspected have been found with minor damage. More than 40 people died among the inhabitants. However, there are no reports that local members have suffered casualties or damages.