News Release

Elder Rasband Provides Update on Türkiye and Syria Earthquake Relief Efforts from Germany

To date, the Church of Jesus Christ has contributed more than US$13.5 million in aid to earthquake victims.

In the suburbs of Munich, more than 170 young men, women and senior couples gathered at a Latter-day Saint meetinghouse — all of them missionary volunteers from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

The missionaries serve in the Alpine German-Speaking Mission. They were here for two reasons. The first was to hear from an Apostle of Jesus Christ, Elder Ronald A. Rasband of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, who stopped in Munich as part of his ministry to four countries in Europe and Africa. The second reason was to answer his call for volunteers.

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“We love God and we love our fellow men. And this is a way that we can show that,” Elder Rasband said.

After addressing the missionaries, Elder Rasband ushered them outside, where three white tents were set up to protect them from gray skies.

Inside, a buzz of activity got underway as Elder Rasband stood shoulder-to-shoulder with Elders and Sisters — the formal title used by missionaries during their 18–24-month, full-time service — folding washcloths into bags in a human assembly line in which the end products were neatly packed toiletry bags with a variety of essentials. Elsewhere, missionaries were stacking boxes onto pallets and loading them onto a commercial truck — most of them destined to aid earthquake survivors in Türkiye and Syria.

“We’re going to deliver them to the Turkish consulate so that they can be sent to the places where they’re needed the most,” Elder Rasband explained.

“To date, the Church has contributed (US)$13.5 million of funding and goods to help in this relief effort.”

Monday’s project resulted in the assembly of 2,532 hygiene kits, with plans for Church members to assemble another 2,500 in Frankfurt.

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The Church has provided support through 20 relief projects.

Elder Rasband explained that in Türkiye, the Church of Jesus Christ is working with AFAD (the national disaster management agency) to deliver 50,000 food boxes and 50,000 hygiene kits to impacted families. The Church is also assisting with securing four mobile medical clinics for key disaster locations.

“It all goes back to our belief in caring for Heavenly Father’s children,” Elder Rasband said.

In collaborating with Catholic Relief Services and Save the Children, the Church of Jesus Christ is working to secure housing repairs, child protection services and psychosocial care to those in need.

Further relief projects are underway or have happened through the Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA), Project HOPE, MedGlobal and Rahma Worldwide. Similar endeavors in Syria are being facilitated by the International Medical Corps, Mercy Corps, ADRA, ShelterBox, CARE and NuDay Syria.

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Elder Rubén V. Alliaud, who currently serves in the Europe Central Area Presidency, accompanied Elder Rasband and shared that contributions include food, tents, blankets, medical supplies, infant care items, wheelchairs, generators, heaters, coats and small mobile health clinics.

“This is part of who we are as followers of Jesus Christ. We mourn with those that mourn and we cry with those that cry,” Elder Alliaud said.

European Humanitarian Relief Efforts

As he greeted the missionaries, Elder Rasband said the project is part of a much larger undertaking.

Elder Rasband explained that European Latter-day Saints have led the Church’s humanitarian response to the armed conflict in Ukraine and now the Turkish/Syrian earthquakes. Their efforts encompass a wide scope of service activities, from hosting refugee families in their homes to driving shipments of essentials to Ukraine.

“My heart rejoices when I think of how the German [Latter-day] Saints, the Polish [Latter-day] Saints, all of these countries in Europe are providing refugee service to families and mothers and children as they leave Ukraine,” Elder Rasband said as he asked the missionaries to express his gratitude to Church members in their local congregations.

“When you go back to your branches and your wards, you tell them that I shared my love and appreciation for them with you.”

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In Munich, Latter-day Saint volunteers have actively provided support to the Ukraine Flüchtlingshilfe Landshut, a nonprofit organization. Latter-day Saints temporarily opened their meetinghouse as a logistics center for refugees.

Church members in three Munich congregations are organizing monthly truck shipments of urgently needed goods for Ukrainian Latter-day Saints. In a recent shipment, Church and private donations financed the procurement of electric generators. At the start of the armed conflict in 2022, biweekly shipments took place and were gradually adjusted to the current monthly delivery. The goods are delivered by Latter-day Saint volunteers to Ukraine.

Local missionary leader Scott Naatjes, president of the Alpine German-Speaking Mission, shared that Church members’ support of refugees also extends to Afghani and Persian communities, where Latter-day Saints have opened their arms to help them assimilate in their host countries.

“Turmoil in places like Afghanistan has further opened and softened hearts toward the many immigrants and refugees who gather to these countries for safety. The members and missionaries have worked together to collect and distribute clothes, food and necessities. They teach language classes for both German and English and they’ve held celebrations and game nights,” President Naatjes said.

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