Latter-day Saints and their neighbors from the Bahamas to New England are cleaning up after Hurricane Irene swept through this weekend.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints sent a semi-truck full of food, water, chain saws, generators, tarps and hygiene kits to some of the impacted areas in the United States. A second shipment of supplies with additional food and water will be delivered this week.
Reports indicate that 12,000 people were displaced in the Dominican Republic, with homes being washed away by floods. The homes of 16 Latter-day Saint families were damaged or destroyed; 27 other families were evacuated to temporary shelters in local meetinghouses. Food, water, tarps, cleaning supplies and hygiene kits were provided locally in the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico and the Bahamas. All Church missionaries and members along the eastern seaboard and in the island areas are reported safe and accounted for. There has been no major damage to Church structures. Some members of the Church have suffered damage to their homes and vehicles.
Church leaders are encouraging members to reach out to their communities to help clean up and restore life back to normal. Leaders will continue to assess needs and cleanup throughout the affected areas.
Rivers are cresting and flooding is expected to continue in many areas. Millions of people are without electricity, and it may not be restored for up to two weeks. Damage estimates are reported to be in the billions of dollars in the U.S. alone. At least 26 people are reported dead from Hurricane Irene.