PISCO, Peru — The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is loading supplies, surgical instruments, family food boxes, hygiene kits and tarps into a 747 cargo plane to be flown directly from Salt Lake City into the area affected by a major earthquake in Peru.

After the 8.0 quake hit Peru on 15 August 2007, the Church immediately responded. Working closely with the Peruvian Civil Defense Agency, the Church initially provided 10,000 blankets and other emergency supplies such as tents.

Local Church leaders have opened four Mormon chapels in Pisco as shelters and are providing food and water for displaced Peruvians.

The Church has substantial history and presence in Peru, where its membership is more than 430,000. Current reports indicate seven members of the Church are among the dead, with 14 seriously injured. All Church missionaries are reported safe and accounted for.

This article was prepared by the LDS Newsroom at lds.org.