How to Stay Well | Prevention Resource Center

World Civil Defense Day Spotlights Importance of Preparedness

A freak landslide in Chile that killed at least 280 last October illustrates the need for disaster preparedness and the value of Scientology Volunteer Minister training.

Disaster preparedness is an urgent necessity—this is the theme of World Civil Defense Day, commemorated annually March 1. And the Scientology Volunteer Ministers who responded to the deadly October 2015 El Cambray Dos avalanche learned firsthand how true this is.

Hundreds of rescue workers dug through the mountain of rock and soil that buried the town of El Cambray Dos—a stark reminder of the urgent need for disaster preparedness.
Hundreds of rescue workers dug through the mountain of rock and soil that buried the town of El Cambray Dos—a stark reminder of the urgent need for disaster preparedness. 

On October 1, 2015, the entire side of the mountain sheered off and descended on the town of El Cambray Dos. The worst part of the catastrophe was that it should never have occurred—CONRED, the National Coordination for Disaster Reduction, said they warned local residents that this could happen and told them to relocate. But many survivors stated they had never heard these warnings, pointing out that a more effective method of reaching those in potential disaster zones needs to be implemented.

Most of the villagers were asleep in their homes when the disaster took place, killing at least 280. Hundreds more remain missing—likely buried by the avalanche that destroyed more than 100 buildings.

Scientology Volunteer Ministers rushed to the disaster site and worked alongside first responders, the Red Cross, fire department and army personnel digging through the mountain of rock and soil to locate survivors. Their drive to recover survivors was heightened by buried victims texting and calling their families from beneath the landslide.

In the chaos of the disaster site, the Volunteer Ministers large yellow pavilion became an anchor for the military, rescue workers and family members. The military used it as a medical station to deliver first aid and paramedic care.

It was a place rescue workers could stop by for a brief respite from the arduous work. The Volunteer Ministers are trained to deliver Scientology assiststechniques developed by L. Ron Hubbard that address the spiritual and emotional components in stress and trauma. Their assists helped rescue workers cope with the stress and stay alert and focused despite working around the clock 

Sadly, the tent also served as a chapel for those who lost family members, and where the Volunteer Ministers could help them through their loss.

Whether serving in their communities or on the other side of the world, the motto of the Scientology Volunteer Minister is “Something can be done about it.” The program, created in the mid 1970s by L. Ron Hubbard and sponsored by the Church of Scientology International as a religious social service, constitutes one of the world’s largest independent relief forces.

The Volunteer Minister “helps his fellow man on a volunteer basis by restoring purpose, truth and spiritual values to the lives of others.”

A global network of Volunteer Ministers mobilizes in times of man-made and natural disasters, answering the call wherever needed. Collaborating with some 1,000 organizations and agencies, they have utilized their skill and experience in providing physical support and spiritual aid at hundreds of disaster sites.

The Scientology religion was founded by author and philosopher L. Ron Hubbard. The first Church of Scientology was formed in Los Angeles in 1954 and the religion has expanded to more than 11,000 Churches, Missions and affiliated groups, with millions of members in 167 countries.

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