LDS missionaries safe, accounted for in areas affected by earthquake

Published: Sunday, Feb. 28 2010 12:00 a.m. MST

SALT LAKE CITY — All of the LDS Church's missionaries in and around Chile have reported in and are safe.

That includes all nine missions in Chile, including the Chile Concepcion South Mission — the church's most affected, which reported in late Saturday afternoon.

Missionaries in the Argentinian missions in Mendoza and Salta, Argentina, also are safe and accounted for, as well as the pair of elders serving on Juan Fernandez Island.

The latter two were also among the last missionaries to report in Saturday. They had moved to higher ground on the island off the Chilean coast and were helping others to do the same.

"We, along with the rest of the world, are watching with concern as reports from the massive earthquake in Chile continue to unfold," said Scott Trotter, a spokesman for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. "As with any disaster, immediate details are difficult to confirm."

Local LDS Church leaders in the Concepcion area have reported considerable damage to the city, but they are unaware of any deaths to Latter-day Saints and indicate that all chapels appear to be fine.

However, most missionaries in the Chile Concepcion South Mission are without water and electricity, and several buildings — including missionary apartments — are not habitable. Those affected are pairing up in missionary apartments that are safe.

No significant structural damage was reported to the Santiago Chile Temple; however, the trumpet on the angel Moroni statue fell off, according to eyewitnesses there.

LDS priesthood leaders are continuing to try to assess the status of LDS Church missionaries, members and meetinghouses.

In addition, church officials are assessing an appropriate humanitarian response to the disaster. Relief efforts would include coordinating with government and other disaster relief organizations.

The LDS Missionary Training Center in Santiago was not damaged in the earthquake, Trotter added.

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