We are airlifting equipment and medical specialists to care for people near Milan, Italy, the current epicenter of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Update: The field hospital is now operational and receiving patients. For more content, including updated numbers, podcasts, more videos, and a list of all articles, please go to our COVID-19 landing page.
Samaritan’s Purse today airlifted a 68-bed Emergency Field Hospital to Milan, Italy, to provide care for those sickened by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Our DC-8 aircraft carried approximately 20 tons of medical equipment, a respiratory care unit developed specifically for this response, and 32 disaster relief personnel, including doctors, nurses, and respiratory specialists, who will stay in country for at least a month.
“We are always ready to provide critical relief in the face of crisis,” said Franklin Graham, president of Samaritan’s Purse.
“We are going to Italy to provide life-saving care to people who are suffering. There is a lot of fear and panic around the world, but we trust that God is in control. We continue to pray for everyone affected by this global health crisis and for our medical team as they respond.”
Our team of specialists will quickly set up our mobile medical facility so that we can offer compassionate care to patients in desperate need. About two-thirds of all coronavirus deaths in Italy have been in the Lombardy region, where Milan is located, and the need for intensive care beds has quickly overwhelmed the healthcare system capacity.
Senior adults are among the most susceptible to this disease, and Italy is home to the largest elderly population in all of Europe. Italy reported more than 700 deaths as a result of the coronavirus on Sunday and Monday, a huge increase in the country’s death toll, which now stands at more than 2,100.
Samaritan’s Purse is the first international organization to provide emergency medical relief to families impacted by this deadly virus in northern Italy. Not only are we providing skilled emergency medical care, our staff is working alongside local evangelical churches and chaplains to bring spiritual comfort and the hope found only in the Gospel.
“We have an unbelievable staff willing to do this and share the hope of Jesus Christ along with their medical expertise,” Edward Graham, youngest son of Franklin Graham, told media today at the airlift. Edward is currently serving as assistant to the vice president of programs for Samaritan’s Purse. “Medicine is a magnet for the Gospel.”
As we deploy to Italy, the Incident Management Team continues to monitor the developing situation and is prepared to respond elsewhere if asked.
Our infectious disease experts have been working in coordination with the World Health Organization to ensure the team is taking necessary precautions.
Please pray for our medical team serving in Italy and for the patients who will be treated at our medical facility. Pray for the sick and their families around the world, and that this pandemic will soon come to an end.