Samaritan's Purse staff and volunteers are working to clean up the island smashed by Hurricane Irma.
Samaritan’s Purse President Franklin Graham traveled to the hurricane-wrecked island of Barbuda on Sept. 25 to encourage residents, church leaders, and our disaster assistance response team.
“When the storm [Hurricane Irma] came through here on Sept. 6, it devastated this island—every home basically destroyed, every home,” he said. “People are off the island right now; they had to go to Antigua. No one is permitted to spend the night here. It’s like a bomb went off.”
Hurricane Irma rendered the island uninhabitable—no one is living there for the first time in the past 300 years. Dogs and pigs roam freely in search of food. Residents and relief workers are only able to travel back and forth between Antigua and Barbuda—a 20-minute flight—during the daylight hours.
Samaritan’s Purse staff and volunteers are commuting to the island to help with clean up. A group of Liberty University students is hard at work this week.
Graham prayed with pastors whose church buildings we are cleaning and repairing. We are also able to cover roofs and window spaces with our heavy-duty, blue shelter plastic.
Pastor Nigel Henry trusts that God is at work even the midst of these distressing circumstances. “I do believe some people are going to definitely give themselves to the Lord, and we’re going to have them in our churches.”
Graham talked too with Francois Joseph, who runs the local radio station on Barbuda. He and his wife Michal are believers and ask for prayer for Barbudans displaced by the storm.
“Even though we have trust in God, we need prayer for strength…and for provision…even our peace of mind,” Joseph said.
In addition to helping families and churches with our shelter plastic, we have set up reverse osmosis stations to provide clean water.
“We want to make a difference here in Jesus’ Name,” Graham said. “This part of the world is going to need a lot of help, and a lot of work. We’re going to have teams down here for months to come.”
In addition to Barbuda and Antigua, Samaritan’s Purse is working across several more islands of the Caribbean to help suffering people in the aftermath of Hurricanes Irma and Maria. Our first distribution on Puerto Rico took place Sept. 27 and continued until hygiene kits, blankets, and heavy-duty shelter plastic were given to 1,200 households. Additional distributions will follow to reach thousands more families.
We have also established multiples bases in Florida and Texas from which our volunteers are assisting homeowners affected by the recent storms.