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With its missionaries in Haiti all safe, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is beginning its humanitarian-relief efforts in the wake of Tuesday's massive earthquake and Wednesday's aftershocks in the Caribbean island nation.
Within 24 hours of Tuesday's quake, the LDS Church joined forces with one of its major partners of late in providing humanitarian aid, Islamic Relief USA, the nation's largest Muslim relief organization.
Islamic Relief USA officials announced Wednesday they were flying aid to Haiti in cooperation with the LDS Church.
Two planes, one departing from Denver as early as Thursday and another leaving from Miami later this week, each will transport to Haiti more than 80,000 pounds of food and emergency resources such as tents, tarps, water filtration bottles and medical supplies donated by the LDS Church, spokesman Scott Trotter said.
Transportation is being provided by Airline Ambassadors, and Food for the Poor will aid with distribution in Haiti.
"We are constantly assessing needs to determine how our resources can directly help the people of Haiti," said Nate Leishman, manager of the LDS Church's humanitarian emergency response efforts. "We are fully committed to this ongoing process and doing our best to help wherever we can."
The two air shipments are in addition to emergency supplies being sent by truck from the Dominican Republic. That shipment contains personal hygiene kits and supplies for newborns.
"We express our sympathy and prayers on behalf of the citizens of Haiti following the recent devastating earthquake," said Kim Farah, a spokeswoman for the LDS Church.
Donations for the LDS Church's relief efforts in Haiti can be made at give.lds.org/emergencyresponse.
Donations to Islamic Relief USA's "Haiti Emergency" efforts can be made online at www.islamicreliefusa.org/donate-now.
Collaborative relief efforts between Islamic Relief USA and the LDS Church have spanned not only the U.S. but have dotted the globe as well. One of the most recent major partnerships came when the two combined to respond to the October 2009 Pacific Rim earthquakes with a massive aid shipment of food, supplies and equipment to Samoa — the LDS Church providing the supplies and Islamic Relief USA covering the cost of the airlift.
Earlier Wednesday, the LDS Church reported all of its missionaries serving in Haiti were safe and accounted for. No North Americans were serving as full-time Mormon missionaries in Haiti at the time.
The LDS Church is continuing to account for its Haitian members in the aftermath of the deadly quake and had no reports available on members Wednesday.