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November Update

Saving Lives in the Bahamas

Dear Friend,

Only the Lord knows how many lives were lost when Hurricane Dorian ripped into the Bahamas, but we do know there are thousands of survivors living in the rubble. I met some of them when I went to Grand Bahama Island, where Samaritan’s Purse is running the only functioning hospital in the disaster zone. Our teams are working day and night to help the islanders put their lives together again.

We airlifted our Emergency Field Hospital to Freeport and set it up next to the town hospital, which was so badly flooded that it has only a few usable beds. These field hospitals are designed for crises like this—and we can set them up in a matter of hours. This facility has 40 beds, operating rooms, an intensive care unit, and a fully stocked pharmacy—plus a staff of highly skilled doctors and nurses who are serving in the Name of Jesus Christ. They share the hope of the Gospel as they treat patients injured during the storm, as well as those who desperately need medication for chronic diseases. In the first three weeks, Samaritan’s Purse cared for over 2,000 patients who had nowhere else to go for help. Our staff has been able to provide life-saving care for patients in diabetic comas, expectant mothers and accident victims.

I wish you could see the powerful ways that God is working through our emergency medical teams to demonstrate His great compassion and touch the hearts of people in need. The people are so appreciative. One hospital patient told us, “I want to thank Samaritan’s Purse and thank God for touching the hearts of those who came to help us out. We Bahamians are so grateful to God for the good work Samaritan’s Purse is doing.”

The Bahama Islands lie in the hurricane alley barely 128 kilometres off the coast of Florida, yet it has been almost a century since they have seen a storm as fierce as Dorian. Not only was it a Category 5 hurricane, but it hammered the islands for two days and two nights. Surging waters forced families to climb into the rafters of their homes, while 320-kmph gusts clawed at the rooftops. At one house, children stayed in the rafters for three days waiting for floods to subside.

A man named Joseph said he rode out the storm clinging to treetops on Grand Bahama Island. “It was like riding a horse for 40 hours,” he said. He saw other people swept out to sea after holding on for many hours. A woman named Vernice said her neighbours left their two-year-old son at her house. “He hung onto my neck,” she said. “We never saw his parents again. Their house was swept away.”

Freeport is the second largest city in the Bahamas, and much of the town is in ruins. Some of the nearby islands are even worse. It will take many months to clean up the debris, recover bodies, and restore power and other public services. Samaritan’s Purse is sending heavy equipment to the Bahamas to help with the clean-up. Eventually, we plan to help rebuild houses and churches in some of the neediest communities, including Abaco, Marsh Harbour, and Man-o-War Cay.

Please continue to pray for the people of the Bahamas. We are providing them with tarps, water, and hygiene kits to help them survive the difficult days ahead. As one of the patients at our field hospital told me, “This is going to be a long road of healing.”

Sincerely,

 

 

 

Franklin Graham

If you would like to financially support the work of Samaritan’s Purse Disaster relief, please click below.

 

 


SUPPORTING LOCAL COMMUNITIES AFTER THE AUSTRALIAN BUSHFIRES

In September this year fires tore across 131 regions around Australia. Our Australian disaster relief team were on the ground within a week of the fires, offering help and support to communities in Stanthorpe and Beau Desert, Queensland.

On 6 September, an uncontrollable fire forced residents in Stanthorpe, Queensland to evacuate their properties. On returning home, residents Diane and Archie Mitchell found that they had completely lost the home they were renovating. “It was horrendous, frightening, devastating to come home to, but by the same token we tried to stay positive,” Diane said.

Diane and Archie were one of four families in Stanthorpe who lost a home. They had two houses on the property, one in which they were living in and another they were renovating for their retirement. The retirement home was completely destroyed along with their vehicles, a shed, tools, furniture and more. Dan Stephens, Samaritan’s Purse Australian Disaster Response Manager, was assessing damaged properties with Samaritan’s Purse volunteers in Stanthorpe when they met Diane and Archie. “We actually found Diane by providence,” Dan said. “We were looking for another address and accidentally ended up at hers and started talking to her.”

A day later, Dan and the team of volunteers returned to the Mitchell’s property and spent two days clearing the wreckage, and sharing God’s love in Jesus name. “I couldn’t tell you how uplifting it was for us…” Diane said. “My husband went down and joined in (clearing the property). I was able to make them a nice meal that we shared. It was really beautiful. It was a really uplifting experience for us.”

Diane and Archie were also given a Samaritan’s Purse Fire Recovery Kit, which contain personal protective equipment, a shovel, mattock, hammer and more. Amazingly, the Recovery Kit included items the Mitchells had lost in the fire, and aided in clearing the property and finding salvageable items.

Diane was incredibly grateful for the work of Samaritan’s Purse staff and volunteers. She expressed her gratitude on Facebook stating: “The wonderful SPA (Samaritan’s Purse Australia) crew came to our aid to start the clean-up process. Can’t thank these guys enough. We will never forget you. Di and Archie.”

Australian Disaster Relief

From our office based in Sydney, New South Wales, the Samaritan’s Purse Australian disaster response team maintains a constant state of readiness—monitoring emerging natural threats around the nation in order to respond quickly to help families affected by natural disasters, such as bushfires, drought and floods.

A Disaster Response Unit (DRU) and trailers are stocked with relief supplies, chainsaws and other tools and are driven to the site of the devastation. These tools and equipment enable the staff and volunteers to provide effective aid to those in need.

Once a decision has been made to deploy, Samaritan’s Purse sets up a command centre as close as possible to the disaster zone, in partnership with a local church. From there, volunteers are mobilised and the community is informed that help is at hand.

Depending on the nature of a disaster, the team may tear out damaged gyprock, remove flooring, put tarps on damaged roofs, remove debris and help homeowners salvage personal belongings.

Many of the volunteers have received classroom and hands-on training, and travel all across Australia with us to help homeowners affected by natural disasters.

If you would like to find out how to become a disaster response volunteer, click here.

If you would like to financially support the work of Samaritan’s Purse Disaster relief, please click below.

 

 


Helping Rappville after Bushfires Destroy Homes

On 17 October Samaritan’s Purse deployed to Rappville in northern NSW. One of our Disaster Relief Trailers is on the ground, equipped with chainsaws, tools and Fire Recovery Kits. These kits will be distributed to homeowners to help find salvageable items and clear properties.

There are 168 structures that have been damaged or destroyed in the region, with 42 homes in Rappville. We will be partnering with churches and the local council, and helping families remove debris, help with chainsaw work and general property clearing.


Relief for northern Syria

Samaritan’s Purse is responding to the humanitarian crisis in northern Syria after Turkey launched a brutal invasion—
displacing thousands of families. As the weather continues to get colder, entire communities are left without adequate shelter, clothing, and food.

Samaritan’s Purse is distributing medicine, cooking provisions, emergency shelter material, warm blankets and clothing to meet the immediate needs of more than 1,000 Kurdish families who have resettled in Iraq refugee camps and assist them as they prepare for winter. Read update here.

If you would like to financially support the work of Samaritan’s Purse Disaster relief, please click below.