SALT LAKE CITY — As residents in Tonga and Samoa survey the damage in the wake of Category 4 Cyclone Gita and its 145-mph winds, the LDS Church is reporting Monday that all of its missionaries are safe and accounted for.
"All missionaries serving in the Samoa Apia and the Tonga Nuku'alofa Mission are safe as Tropical Cyclone Gita moves through the region," said Daniel Woodruff, spokesman for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
"Missionaries in Tonga are taking refuge in church buildings away from the coast and have taken necessary preparations to help keep them safe," he added. "We pray for all those in the South Pacific who are impacted by this powerful storm.”
Gita has been referred to as one of the strongest storms in recorded Tongan history, leaving extensive power and fresh-water outages in its wake. Emergency officials are reporting that nearly every home in Tonga was damaged by storm.
State emergencies were declared in both Tonga and American Samoa.