In response to the devastating events of the past several days in Japan which have resulted from an initial earthquake, followed by a tsunami and several large-magnitude aftershocks, Elder Jeffrey R. Holland of the Quorum of the 12 Apostles gave a press conference moments ago.
In his comments, Elder Holland said that, “We want to express our sympathy and support for all of the people of Japan…For those anxious about their loved ones, all of our missionaries in those missions are accounted for.”
Elder Holland indicated that neighboring missions are being called upon to accommodate approximately 190-200 missionaries from the Sendai and Tokyo missions. Elder Holland also said that, to date, there have been no confirmed deaths among the membership in the Church in Japan, although the membership from 1 ward and two branches are still not entirely accounted for.
Elder Holland also stated that the Church is currently working with other organizations to ensure delivery of aid as quickly as possible, but that the process is still very early in the going and communication difficulties are making it difficult.
In response to questions about what Church members could be doing, Elder Holland stated that it’s too early to know specifically what donations are needed, but that the Newsroom will be used extensively to update members of the Church around the world as information about what donations are needed and when they are needed.
When asked about the organization of the Church in Japan to help, Elder Holland became emotional when speaking about the individuals involved for the Church’s organization working on site. “Some have been dispatched, and as needed, others will be.” Elder Holland said that there “are Bishops who have lost their homes…there are Relief Society presidents who have lost their homes…” but are nevertheless out looking for their fellow saints and neighbors, and are assisting in the organization of the Church’s relief efforts.
“We are not panicky, we are not fearful. The world and members of the Church have been through difficulties before…there is a great degree of confidence and support for the people [who have responded and continue to respond].”
UPDATE: The press conference and a Newsroom piece have now been posted here.