Missionaries serving in the Philippines are safe following typhoon; assessments continue

All Latter-day Saint missionaries serving in the typhoon-battered Philippines are safe and accounted for.

Church spokesman Daniel Woodruff confirmed the status of missionaries even as assessments of impact to Church members continue Wednesday in the Pacific Islands nation.

At least 20 people were killed as Typhoon Goni struck the Philippines over the weekend of Oct. 31 and Nov. 1. Thousands of homes and shanties were damaged or destroyed, the Associated Press reported.

The storm blasted into Catanduanes province at dawn Nov. 1 as a super typhoon with sustained winds of 140 mph and gusts of 174 mph. But it weakened considerably after making landfall and shifted direction to spare the capital, Manila, before blowing out into the South China Sea.

The Office of Civil Defense said at least 20 people were killed in Catanduanes and nearby Albay province.

Goni, one of the most powerful typhoons in the world this year, evoked memories of Typhoon Haiyan, which left more than 7,300 people dead or missing, flattened entire villages, swept ships inland and displaced more than 5 million in the central Philippines in November 2013, the Associated Press reported.

The Philippines is hit by about 20 typhoons and storms each year. It’s also located on the Pacific “Ring of Fire,” where earthquakes and volcanic eruptions are common, making it one of the world’s most disaster-prone countries.

The Philippines is home to more than 800,000 members and over 1,200 wards and branches. Latter-day Saints living on the island nation know well the pain of natural disaster.

Meanwhile, dozens of Latter-day Saints meetinghouses were utilized to shelter thousands in 2018 when Typhoon Ompong sent destructive winds and torrential rains across northern Luzon.

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