Samaritan’s Purse President Franklin Graham and son, Edward, met patients and families and encouraged our staff in the earthquake-devastated region.
Samaritan’s Purse President Franklin Graham, and son, Edward, met with patients and our medical team at our Emergency Field Hospital in Antakya, Turkey, on Feb. 18.
While onsite, two people who had been pulled from the rubble in recent days arrived by ambulance to our Emergency Field Hospital. The two had been receiving treatment at a facility elsewhere, but were transferred to the Samaritan’s Purse hospital to receive additional care. As they were rushed in, Franklin Graham was able to quickly step into the emergency room and witness our team at work. He stepped back out after a short time, allowing them space to care for the patients.
The field hospital has received more than 500 patients and provided numerous surgeries since opening Feb. 13. Our doctors, nurses, and medical personnel are treating those rushed to our hospital with broken bones, infections, and other urgent needs stemming from deadly earthquakes that decimated entire communities. The team is also seeing patients who need care for serious chronic illnesses that require attention in light of the fact that the region’s healthcare system has been crippled.
If you are interested in joining our DART roster to be a part of these types of disaster responses, click here to apply.
“We’ve got an incredible team of people working here from all over the world,” Franklin Graham said. Both Grahams spent quality time encouraging the Disaster Assistance eResponse Team (DART) this week. About 100 Samaritan’s Purse staffers, including medical and non-medical disaster specialists, are on the ground in the region.
“The damage here is unbelievable,” Franklin Graham said. “Every building is leaning. Every building is cracked. It’s going to take years for this place to recover.”
Dr. Chris Brandenburg, one of the emergency care physicians serving at our field hospital, said people are so traumatized by what they’ve experienced that they are not attending to their physical wounds.
“I’ve been in a lot of emergency situations over 30 years and I’ve never seen anything like this,” Dr. Brandenburg said. “Multiple patients are just grieving because of losing family members and friends and homes. Many have ignored serious medical needs because they’ve been so focused on the traumatic loss.”
>>READ MORE: TURKEY EARTHQUAKE RESPONSE
We were on the ground in Turkey quickly following the two deadly Feb. 6 earthquakes that struck only hours apart and rocked cities in southern Turkey.
Residents have faced unspeakable loss as they search and wait for news of loved ones even while living through the winter’s harshest weeks.
More than 40,000 people were killed in the powerful temblors, which continue to produce strong aftershocks. Many tens of thousands are injured.
Edward Graham Witnesses God’s Healing Amid Destruction
Earlier in the week, Edward, who now serves as Samaritan’s Purse chief operating officer, traveled with our relief teams to survey damage in the communities around Antakya. He met with families in the region, many who are grieving as search-and-rescue efforts have transitioned to recovery phase.
“These are people that are literally in the ditches and the gutters of the world right now. No one else can respond or help,” Edward said. “But God has given us this capability and we can go love our neighbors during a time just like this.”
He also met a baby patient named Selim* who was rushed into our field hospital in critical condition.
“It’s been a blessing to watch him slowly recover,” said Edward, who was able to hold Selim. “He needed to be treated immediately. There wasn’t even time to airlift him to another hospital. And this little boy is going to live because this hospital was here.
“This is where God’s brought us. My prayer is that we’re faithful to the Gospel and our mission and that we can bless the people of Turkey by loving them and serving them unconditionally.”
Please continue to pray for the many families and communities grieving in the aftermath of the earthquakes. Pray that they would experience hope through a saving encounter with Jesus Christ. Pray also for our teams—for their safety, strength, and perseverance—as they serve suffering people in His Name.
*Name changed for security reasons.