News Release

Cyclone Pam Update

Update: 27 March 2015, 4.25pm

Latter-day Saint leaders in Port Vila purchased 5,000 personal care kits today to be distributed to the people of Vanuatu. Each kit includes a toothpaste tube, a toothbrush, soap and other hygiene items.

The Church is also purchasing and distributing seeds so families can begin to replant their home gardens. Many people in Vanuatu rely on what they can grow themselves for food and income.

Latter-day Saint representatives continue to work with government agencies to bring food, water, tarpaulins and other aid to communities on Efate and the outer islands, such as Tanna.

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Update: 25 March 2015, 2.40pm

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints sent 600 emergency food boxes from New Zealand to Port Vila this week, with another 1,400 boxes on their way in the coming weeks. The 600 boxes are being sent from Port Vila to Tanna today, along with 100 tents, water, rice and flour.

The Church is also in the process of shipping 1,000 water containers with purification filters, 3,000 litres of water, 200 cartons of milk powder and 570 tents to Port Vila.

Vanuatu Latter-day Saint leaders have purchased (in Port Vila) food, water, tents, tarpaulins, tools and building supplies – and are distributing these to Latter-day Saints and others in need who have been sheltering in Church buildings since the cyclone. The Church continues to provide food and other aid to Latter-day Saints and others on a daily basis.


Update: 25 March 2015, 8.11am

Watch videos featuring "Mormon Helping Hands" volunteers in Auckland, New Zealand packing 2,000 emergency food boxes for the people of Vanuatu.




Update: 20 March 2015, 3.41pm

Leaders in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Vanuatu are continuing to reach out to Mormon congregational ministers across the nation. There have been no reports of fatalities among the membership of the Church. Needs are being assessed in communities — and food, water and other supplies are being distributed where possible.

Earlier today Pacific Area President of the Church, Elder Kevin W. Pearson, said, “We are doing all we can to talk with our local leaders in our congregations across Vanuatu. We are extremely grateful that reports to this point indicate that none of our Church members have lost their lives.”

“Our thoughts and prayers are with any in Vanuatu who have lost loved ones, sustained injuries, lost their home, crops or livelihood, or who are suffering in any other way. We will continue to reach out in love and support, as best we can, to our Church members and others in the coming weeks and months.”

“It is deeply reassuring to hear reports that people are calm, working to recover and rebuild, and are helping their neighbours. As followers of Jesus Christ, we are absolutely committed to walk alongside our brothers and sisters in Vanuatu as they grieve, recover and rebuild. We are here for the long haul.” 



Update: 19 March 2015, 4.01pm

All Latter-day Saint missionaries in the Vanuatu Port Vila Mission are accounted for, safe and well. The 11 Latter-day Saint missionaries who were on the Vanuatu island of Tanna when Cyclone Pam hit last weekend are now back in Port Vila. The six missionaries on the island of Ambae are also accounted for and safe. Where possible, missionaries throughout the nation are distributing food and other supplies to communities in need, and assisting people in other ways.

Update: 18 March, 12.42pm

Yesterday two Latter-day Saint missionaries based on the Vanuatu island of Santo took a commercial boat to the island of Ambae where there are six missionaries. As communication channels have been down, no contact has yet been made with these missionaries. We expect to hear a report later today or early tomorrow. The Santo missionaries are carrying emergency supplies to assist those suffering from the effects of Cyclone Pam.

Another two missionaries from Port Vila are flying to Tanna on a small plane today which has been chartered by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. They are taking aid to the people in need there and will also transport missionaries back to Port Vila.


Update: 17 March 2015, 3.20pm

Within the last hour the Vanuatu Port Vila Mission President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Larry Brewer, made contact with missionary leaders on the island of Tanna. The missionary leaders confirmed that all 11 missionaries on Tanna are accounted for and safe.

The Church is chartering a small plane tomorrow from Port Vila to Tanna. Two missionaries will be on board with food and other supplies to give much needed relief to those suffering from the effects of Cyclone Pam. The plane will also be used to bring the 11 missionaries on Tanna back to Port Vila.


Update: 17 March 2015, 1.30pm

Latter-day Saint leaders in Vanuatu confirmed this morning that missionaries serving on Efate, Santo, Malekula and Gaua islands are accounted for and safe. Efforts are continuing in establishing contact with missionaries on other outer islands.

Church leaders in Port Vila purchased food and other emergency supplies yesterday which are being distributed to Church members and others who are sheltering at Church buildings, as well as others who have moved back to their properties in order to start rebuilding their homes.  

Hans Sorensen, Gary Winters and Garrick Parr, from the Church’s Pacific Area Office in Auckland, are flying to Port Vila tomorrow to support local leaders in meeting the needs of people affected by the cyclone. This includes setting up partnerships with other churches and agencies for faster and more efficient aid distribution.

Latter-day Saint missionaries in Port Vila are helping families clean up their properties, and in some cases starting to rebuild their homes.  

There are over 6,000 Latter-day Saints in Vanuatu, and 31 congregations.


Update: 16 March 2015

Reports from Latter-day Saint leaders in Fiji and Tuvalu confirmed today that all missionaries in the Fiji Suva Mission are accounted for and safe following Cyclone Pam’s destructive impact on the weekend.

In the neighbouring Vanuatu Port Vila Mission of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, all missionaries on the main island of Efate are in Port Vila and are safe.

Due to communication lines still being down to the outer islands of the Vanuatu archipelago, contact with missionaries serving in these locations has not yet been made.  Efforts are ongoing to make contact with and support these missionaries, Church members and others in these outer islands.

Vanuatu Port Vila Mission President, Larry Brewer, confirmed today that all missionaries in the mission, including those on remote islands, were notified before the cyclone arrived, and moved to the safest location in each respective island.

Many Church members and others on the island of Efate have lost their homes and are sheltering in Latter-day Saint meetinghouses.

Water supplies are being restored in many parts of Port Vila this week. However, power is still out across the nation. Some buildings are being powered by generators.

Military aid flights are coming into Port Vila daily, and some commercial flights will begin into the capital from this afternoon.

Church leaders in Vanuatu and at the Church’s Pacific Area Headquarters are working with governmental and non-governmental organisations to identify needs and provide support.

Those who wish to support the people of Vanuatu may wish to consider donating to the Church’s humanitarian fund through their local congregation or via LDS Philanthropies.

A blog has been set up at the Church’s Pacific Area Headquarters for families of missionaries in the Vanuatu Port Vila Mission so latest information can be shared. These families will be contacted shortly so they can access this blog.


Style Guide Note:When reporting about The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, please use the complete name of the Church in the first reference. For more information on the use of the name of the Church, go to our online Style Guide.

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