News Release

Mormon Helping Hands jump into action in relieving fire victims in small village

Fire strikes village of Russey Keo District destroying more than 60 homes

A tragic fire struck a neighborhood in the Russey Keo Commune in Phnom Penh, Cambodia on Monday, July 9, 2018. The village comprised of ethnic Vietnamese citizens. More than 60 homes were destroyed in the blaze, but fortunately, no lives were lost. Tuesday morning Ieng Aunny, former vice-governor of Phnom Penh now working for the Ministry of the Interior, contacted the Cambodia Service Center of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, seeking aid in the relief efforts of this devastated community.


Tuesday afternoon, LDS Charities (LDSC) Cambodia had sprung into action. Calls were made to local vendors looking for basic food, water and shelter items that could be delivered to the Commune headquarters the next morning. Gathering and distributing relief supplies in such a short time period was the challenge facing LDSC missionaries. Calls went out Tuesday night to Church members and missionaries serving in the area. By early Wednesday morning, more than 30 Helping Hands volunteers had gathered to aid in the distribution of relief supplies at the Russey Keo Commune headquarters.

Local and national government leaders were on hand to oversee an equitable distribution of the aid. Partnering with LDSC was a local Catholic Parish as well as a personal donation of supplies by a member of the local Vietnamese Branch of the Church. LDSC purchased many different food items including 50 kilogram bags of rice, water, oil and many other food commodities commonly found in local kitchens. They also donated tarps and bed mats for the sufferers' shelter. 

All the commodities were stacked into 67 equivalent piles by Mormon Helping Hands volunteers. The individual families were called by the village chief to receive the commodities one family at a time. Missionary volunteers traveled to the charred village afterward to assist the villagers as they began to put their lives back together. The villagers expressed gratitude and amazement for the supplies that had been given to them.

Government officials expressed their gratitude for the generous donation of aid and were visibly taken back by the willingness of the Helping Hands volunteers who came and offered help and comfort to their community. The relief effort is just beginning, but a sense of hope could be seen in the faces of residents of this small village as they begin to rebuild their lives and homes.

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