Samaritan's Purse Ramping Up Aid Efforts in Caribbean After Hurricane Maria

(Photo: Samaritan's Purse)Hurricane Maria inflicted widespread destruction in Dominica, where Samaritan's Purse is airlifting a team of disaster relief specialists with urgently needed aid, September 2017.

Franklin Graham's evangelical humanitarian aid organization, Samaritan's Purse, has ramped up its efforts in the Caribbean islands and in Florida in the wake of Hurricane Irma and as Hurricane Maria continues its path of destruction.

Samaritan's Purse has helped well over 13,600 victims of Hurricane Irma and Hurricane Maria in the Caribbean by either supplying them with tarps for emergency shelter or vital necessities like food, blankets, water and hygiene kits, according to a news release shared with The Christian Post on Thursday.

The organization has already delivered over 154 tons of emergency supplies to those in need in the Caribbean via eight different flights of its DC-8 cargo plane, which takes off out of Greensboro, North Carolina, and delivers supplies to the charity's logistics hub in Puerto Rico.

In Puerto Rico, the supplies are sent via smaller aircraft to areas of need throughout the Caribbean. The eighth flight of the Samaritan's Purse DC-8 landed in Puerto Rico on Friday. Another flight to Puerto Rico will take off on Sunday.

Samaritan's Purse has already provided aid and food to hurricane victims in St. Maarten, Antigua and Barbuda, and Turks and Caicos. In the last 48 hours, a Samaritan's Purse representative went to Dominica, which was decimated by Hurricane Maria on Sept. 18, in order to assess the damage on the devastated island. Samaritan's Purse has plans for an airlift to Dominica.

Since Hurricane Maria left over 3.5 million people in Puerto Rico without power this week and it could be as long as four- to six-months before power is fully restored, Samaritan's Purse will now be aiding the people of Puerto Rico.

"As daylight breaks in the Caribbean this morning, the view is much different. Hurricanes Irma and Maria have left their mark on island after island, impacting millions of people. Lives have been lost. Countless homes have been blown away or flooded," Graham, Samaritan's Purse president and son of Billy Graham, wrote in a Facebook update on Thursday. "These people need our prayers."

(Photo: Samaritan's Purse)Emergency supplies are distributed in St. Maarten, after being airlifted from North Carolina by Samaritan's Purse. The organization's DC-8 cargo plane carried enough materials — including hygiene items, blankets and rolls of heavy-duty plastic sheeting for emergency shelter — to help more than 4,000 families.

In addition to the vital materials Samaritan's Purse has delivered in its various airlifts thus far, Graham explained that the charity has also sent 500 generators and are in the process of sending 1,000 more.

"These 2,000-watt portable generators produce enough power to keep a refrigerator going, charge a cell phone, or provide some lights," Graham said. "One of these will run all day on just a couple gallons of gas and bring some immediate relief."

Samaritan's Purse also partners with local churches and organizations to distribute the emergency supplies.

Samaritan's Purse remains steadfast in its aid efforts in Florida and Texas as thousands of volunteers continue to help survivors of Hurricanes Irma and Harvey.

Samaritan's Purse has partnered with churches to establish five different volunteer centers throughout Southeast Texas to aid in gutting out and preparing the homes for restoration. Additionally, Samaritan's Purse has set up four volunteer centers throughout Florida to aid Hurricane Irma victims.

According to the news release, over 5,000 volunteers have worked over 63,000 hours to help Samaritan's Purse's efforts in both Florida and Texas. Those 5,000 volunteers have helped prepare over 1,000 homes across the two states for restoration.

"Samaritan's Purse is committed to providing this help in Texas and Florida communities for weeks and months to come," the press release states.

Samaritan's Purse, which is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, is accepting online donations that will be used to help the victims of the hurricanes.

Follow Samuel Smith on Twitter: @IamSamSmith
Follow Samuel Smith on Facebook: SamuelSmithCP