Samaritan’s Purse airlift relief supplies for hurting families as Hurricane Irma left death and destruction in its wake, as the storm churned through the Caribbean and Florida. We are now preparing for Hurricane Maria
Samaritan’s Purse is sending daily flights, full of critically needed supplies to help those the worst hit areas throughout the Caribbean such as the British Virgin Islands, St. Martin/St. Maarten, Antigua and Barbuda. Our teams are conducting assessments of affected Caribbean islands to determine where the need is greatest.
Irma left death and destruction in its wake as the storm churned through the Caribbean. Then it swamped Florida.
“Hurricane Irma leveled islands in the Caribbean and devastated the Florida coast,” said Franklin Graham, president of Samaritan’s Purse. “We are taking critically needed supplies to storm survivors and coming alongside affected families. We want to meet their physical needs while showing them the love of Christ. Please pray for all those affected by this horrific storm.”
“We are taking critically needed supplies to storm survivors and coming alongside affected families.”—Franklin Graham
Our DC-8 cargo plane is making multiple trips to deliver relief supplies and disaster assistance response teams. Through these airlifts—the first of which occurred on Friday 8th September—we’ve brought in over 136 tonnes of heavy-duty shelter kits, family hygiene kits, and blankets for over 25,000 people. Three desalination units have been set up which convert sea water into 10,000 litres of clean drinking water every day.
We are also distributing relief supplies to the people of Antigua and Barbuda and the Turks and Caicos Islands. The expansion of our Caribbean response is possible because we’ve set up an operational hub on Puerto Rico, from where we can fly our DC-3 plane to smaller islands with airport access. We have about 40 Samaritan’s Purse personnel on the ground across several islands.
One of the most powerful Atlantic Ocean storms in recorded history, Irma made its first landfall on Wednesday 6th September, lashing the eastern Leeward Islands. Its 185-mph winds decimated Antigua and obliterated 60 to 90 percent of the buildings on the island of Barbuda. Gaston Browne, the prime minister of Barbuda, said the island is “literally rubble.”
After ripping up St. Martin, heavy rains and a powerful storm surge lashed Puerto Rico and the Turks and Caicos Islands. Cuba and the Bahamas were hit by Irma’s winds and rains on Saturday. Throughout the Caribbean, a total of 26 deaths have been reported due to Irma.
On Sunday, Florida felt Irma’s fury, including 105-to 130-mph winds, heavy rains, and major storm surge. The storm first hit the U.S. as a Category 4 monster in the Keys and then made a second landfall at Marco Island. Almost the entire state has been affected in some way, with the southwestern coast getting the worst of it. Millions are without power.
Samaritan’s Purse is responding to assist people in hard-hit areas, in the Caribbean and Florida. Vital relief supplies including blankets, tarps and hygiene kits were shipped to the Caribbean Island of St. Martin to be distributed to more than 24,000 affected people. We will be sending daily flights of supplies to support our growing response efforts across the Caribbean.