Adventist Church in Inter-America assesses damage from Hurricane Irma and begins relief effort.

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The Adventist Development and Relief Agency lends aid throughout the division

September 17, 2017

Libna Steves/IAD


Adventist Church in Inter-America assesses damage from Hurricane Irma and begins relief effort.

The British Virgin Islands Seventh-day Adventist School in Tortola sustained extensive damage to its campus. The school will be closed indefinitely. [Image from BVI SDA School’s Facebook]

Nearly a week after Hurricane Irma swept through dozens of islands in the Caribbean on Sep. 6 and 7, killing more than a dozen people and flattening buildings and homes, the Seventh-day Adventist Church is still trying to account for all of its members. No fatalities among church members have been reported yet.

English Caribbean territory

“This has been the most extensive disaster to affect our territory,” said Kern Tobias, president of the church in the Caribbean Union.

Just days before the hurricane struck Barbuda, one of the hardest hit islands, Tobias visited the only Adventist Church there for Sabbath worship.

“The brethren were so happy for the visit and we prayed for God’s protection in case the hurricane hit hard,” said Tobias. “Days later the eye of the storm went right through it.”

The government of Barbuda estimated that 95 percent of buildings and homes were damaged by the 150-mile-per-hour winds.

“All residents of the islands were transported to the neighboring island of Antigua and are now in shelters, including our church members,” explained Tobias. An Adventist Church there in Antigua is coordinating with the local government to function as a shelter, added Tobias.

It will take months before church members can rebuild their homes and the church in Barbuda can be rebuilt, said Tobias.

“The thing about our people in the islands is that they are very resilient and move about fast and pitch some tarpaulin and get the church running and ministering again in the community,” said Tobias.

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