Samaritan’s Purse airlift relief supplies for hurting families as Hurricane Irma and Maria have left death and destruction in their wake.
Hurricane Maria has moved through the Caribbean causing major damage to islands such as Dominica and Puerto Rico. St. Martin/St. Maarten, and Antigua and Barbuda experienced less damage from Hurricane Maria due to the storm’s southward position.
Already at work in the region, we provided heavy-duty shelter kits in advance of the storm on St. Martin and the Turks and Caicos Islands. As many are anxious about Maria’s approach, our teams and partnering churches report increased opportunities to offer spiritual comfort in Christ.
Samaritan’s Purse is sending daily flights, full of critically needed supplies to help those the worst hit areas throughout the Caribbean such as St. Martin/St. Maarten, Antigua and Barbuda. Our teams are conducting assessments of affected Caribbean islands to determine where the need is greatest.
LATEST: Maria Brings More Misery; Samaritan’s Purse Keeps Up Caribbean Relief Efforts — Samaritan’s Purse Team on the Ground in St. Martin After Hurricane Irma — Bringing Relief to the Caribbean and Florida
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.
“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
From our operational hub on Puerto Rico, our DC-8 and DC-3 cargo planes are making multiple trips to deliver relief supplies and transport our 40 disaster assistance response members. 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 have been assisting the people of Barbuda, an island now completely uninhabitable due to widespread damage, with temporary accommodation on nearby Antigua. We have plans to build accommodation on Barbuda for residents to return to their home island.