News Release

Church of Jesus Christ Extends Aid and Shelter to Volcano Evacuees

Last June 11, 2024, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints provided food packs, drinking water, bedding and hygiene kits to more than 80 families residing in the Municipality of La Castellana who temporarily had to evacuate from their homes after the eruption of the Kanlaon Volcano in Negros Occidental.

Dozens of Latter-day Saints from the La Carlota Philippines District urgently answered the call to repack over 200 food packs, 100 five-gallon water containers, sleeping materials, and hygiene kits for almost 300 people who evacuated to the La Castellana meetinghouse early on June 6, 2024.

In addition to the relief assistance, members of the La Castellana Branch, including youth and young single adults, took shifts to clean and prepare meals for the evacuees. They ensured that all evacuees were dry, warm, well-fed, and comfortable during this challenging time.

"I immediately said 'Yes' when we were asked if we could help serve the evacuees. I felt happy to help and serve our neighbors, even for a short period. I am always praying that the evacuees will recover from what happened," shared Krisha Guanzon, 16, from the Masville Branch.

“When I arrived at the meetinghouse, I felt concerned for the evacuees who had to stay there. There was a lot to do. While serving their food, I could see and feel their happiness for that simple meal. Surprisingly, I didn’t feel tired doing all the work, and it made me remember the scripture that says when we ‘are in the service of your fellow beings, ye are in the service of your God.’ I am blessed to be there,” said Paris Hofilena, 16, from the Masville Branch.

On June 4, 2024, the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) raised the alert level of Kanlaon Volcano on Negros Island from Alert Level 1 to Alert Level 2 after recording an explosive eruption.

According to state seismologists, the volcano, located within the boundaries of Negros Occidental and Negros Oriental, erupted at 6:51 p.m. at its summit vent, lasting six minutes. This was preceded by a "relatively strong volcano-tectonic earthquake." Nearly 800 people were evacuated.

Apart from the initial eruption and post-eruption tremors, the continuous phreatic eruption, which ejected a recorded five-kilometer plume of ash, gas, and rocks into the sky, posed a greater risk. Health officials also raised concerns that nearby residents were exposed to noxious gases that could affect their lungs.

La Carlota District President Johndill Parreno led the distribution of relief packs to the evacuees and ensured they knew they had support as fellow neighbors during the tragedy. La Castellana Mayor Rhummyla Mangilimutan also attended the distribution of the relief goods, thanking the Church and its local leaders and members for their love and unselfish efforts toward the internally displaced persons who fled the volcano. "My heart melts seeing many people loving and caring citizens of our beloved La Castellana. I send my heartfelt gratitude to all members and officers of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints," the mayor expressed.

"The Church is doing its best to be a good neighbor to the community, seeking ways to serve and assist those in need, both members and our friends from other faiths, especially in times of calamity. This is our way of showing how much we love our Father in Heaven by caring for the people around us," President Parreno said.

"We are grateful for the opportunity to serve the evacuees and show them what we believe in. This also allowed our friends to know what this Church is and what we stand for. We are also thankful for the trust provided by the local government, who agreed to use our meetinghouse as a temporary shelter," said President Angelo Plarao, Branch President of the La Castellana Branch.

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