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Church assistance gives relief to citizens in Siberian village

Unemployment in the village was about 80 percent, and there was hardly any food available in stores, according to information from Elder E. Ray Bateman of the Seventy and second counselor in the Asia North Area presidency. About two-thirds of Omsukchan's 3,000 residents faced starvation or malnutrition as a result of a hard winter.A government administrator sent out a plea for help to local churches and businesses, but they could not or would not help. Officials for the Omolon Gold Mining Company in the area did not have a system in place to help, but they knew that employee Kevin Matthews was a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and asked him if his Church could help, according to Elder Bateman. Brother Matthews contacted the Asia North Area presidency in Tokyo.

The Church responded by gathering relief supplies and boxing them for shipment.

Omolon Gold Mining Company offered to transport the supplies the 375 miles from the costal city of Magadan to Omsukchan and also took care of procedures to get them through Russian customs.

Vladimir Nechiporov, the Church's district president in Vladivostok, went to Magadan and accompanied the shipment to Omsukchan. There, he supervised the dispensing of food boxes to the needy. He also took some boxes of food to the nearby towns of Dukat and Golimy.