SALT LAKE CITY — Hundreds of people are dealing with the aftereffects of deadly flooding in Houston following Hurricane Harvey and unprecedented rainfall in the area.
Late Monday, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints issued a statement saying floodwaters had breached the Houston Texas Temple in nearby Klein, Texas.
“It appears water to the depth of four or five inches has gone inside the temple,” Houston temple President Marshall Hayes said in the statement. “That includes a baptistry, a marriage waiting room, dressing rooms, kitchen and laundry. We haven’t been able to go inside so we really don’t know the extent of the damage.”
The statement, from LDS Church spokesman Eric Hawkins, said the temple closed Saturday afternoon and will remain closed for the foreseeable future.
Hawkins also wrote that several local meeting houses were impacted by water damage, but many could still be used as shelters or relief areas should local leaders deem it necessary.
In addition, Hawkins statement says all of the church's missionaries were safe and accounted for.
“All missionaries are safe, though several missions have been affected,” Hawkins wrote. “Significant precautions were taken before Hurricane Harvey’s arrival to help missionaries remain safe.”
Hawkins said missionaries were asked to gather enough food and water so they could remain inside their homes for as many days needed. Missionaries in areas with the greatest possibility for flooding were moved to other locations temporarily. Several other missionaries were impacted by the flooding.
“As flooding subsides and cleanup efforts begin, missionaries will be engaged in helping the communities where they serve,” Hawkins said. “As is customary in times of crisis, mission presidents have asked missionaries to contact their families by email to let them know they’re safe, and have provided updates to families, as possible, through the weekend.
As with many large-scale disasters, the LDS Church is involved in humanitarian efforts to help the community. Hawkins said the church began sending supplies, which include water, hygiene and cleanup kits, to area bishops for those in need. The church will continue to monitor the situation and will send additional supplies and resources if needed, he added.
“The church partners regularly with other aid organizations in such situations,” he said. “We will continue to work with community partners to assess and address needs following this disaster.”
The church continues to pray for the people of Texas and “invite others to join us in those prayers,” Hawkins said.
Those looking to donate to the support of the flooding cleanup are encouraged to make a donation to the church’s Humanitarian Fund, Hawkins said.
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