The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has announced on their website that they are going to send relief aid to the Middle East in early August. The Church is responding to an international call from the United Nations for humanitarian aid for the approximate 800,000 civilians who have been displaced as a result of the ongoing war:

Latter-day Saints Send Aid to Middle East
27 July 2006

SALT LAKE CITY — The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is responding to a United Nations appeal for humanitarian aid to help civilians caught in the conflict between Israeli and Hezbollah forces in Lebanon and Israel.

U.N. officials are asking for international assistance to meet the needs for three months of an estimated 800,000 people who have been displaced, wounded or otherwise affected by the fighting.

A Church donation of medical supplies, powdered milk, baby formula, hand soap and hygiene kits will be flown to the affected region by Islamic Relief Worldwide (IRW). The planeload of aid is expected to leave Salt Lake City on Tuesday, 1 August, and arrive in Lebanon a few days later. Representatives of IRW and the Hariri Foundation, a Lebanese development and education organization, will oversee distribution.

The Church has met an urgent request for $50,000 from Magen David Admon, the Israeli affiliate of the International Red Cross. The donation will be used in Haifa to respond to increased demand on Magen David Admon’s blood services program, ambulance response and support of individual family needs.

President Gordon B. Hinckley, leader of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, has emphasized that the Church’s humanitarian assistance is provided to those in need wherever they may be without regard to religious affiliation, race, ethnicity or political persuasion.

Of the Church’s worldwide efforts to relieve suffering, President Hinckley has said: “We have … blessed the lives of many people who are not of our faith but who also are children of our Father. We will continue to do so for as long as we have the means.”

This is an excellent response by the Church, and one I am certain will be welcomed in both Lebanon and Israel. As more information is made available I will post it here. I am trying to clarify whether individual members and/or the public at large can contribute directly to this effort through the Church’s Humanitarian General Fund.

Update 7/27/06 11:36 p.m.  The Deseret News also has this article on the humanitarian efforts.