SALT LAKE CITY — The LDS Church donated 10,000 food supply kits and 300 camping tents in the last week to help victims of the major Sept. 7 earthquake in Oaxaca, Mexico.
Meanwhile, Elder Paul B. Pieper, Mexico Area president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, visited the area to encourage victims as they rebuild.
Elder Pieper met at a collection center Thursday with the president of Oaxaca's System for the Integral Development of the Family, Ivette Morán Rodríguez de Murat, who thanked him for the donations. The group is a social services agency.
"We need hands, we need what each can contribute to support the victims," Morán told Elder Pieper. "There is much to do in Oaxaca. We must work together in heartfelt solidarity, and we are grateful not to be alone."
The earthquake registered 8.2 on the Richter scale and killed more than 90 people. Estimates of the number affected by the quake range as high as 2.3 million people.
Elder Pieper visited the meetinghouse of the Cheguigo Ward, which is serving as a temporary shelter, where h e received reports from local LDS leaders.
He also met and encouraged families. Jorge Toledo said his family was sleeping when the earthquake hit.
“We barely managed to get out,” he said, noting the house is now too rickety to re-enter. “We lost everything.”
Elder Pieper later met with leaders of the church’s Juchitán and Juchitán las Flores stakes.
"This is an event that will define our individual lives as well as our community for many years,” he told them. He called the earthquake an opportunity to make progress. “Let's make sure this natural disaster is not a spiritual disaster. Let's make sure it is a spiritual blessing."
The church issued a statement a day after the earthquake:
"With the rest of the world, we are deeply concerned about the many natural disasters that have occurred around the globe in recent weeks. Last night's earthquake in Mexico affected thousands of people, and we pray for their safety and well-being. Two missions of the church were directly impacted (the Mexico Tuxtla Gutierrez and Mexico Oaxaca Missions), and the quake was felt throughout a much larger region. We have confirmed that all missionaries are safe and well. The condition of other church facilities and the earthquake's impact to other members are unknown at this time. We will provide additional information as it becomes available."