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.”
Samaritan’s Purse mounted its first response to Hurricane Irma on the island of St. Martin, where Irma caused widespread destruction.
On Sept. 8 we flew critically needed relief supplies and a disaster assistance response team (DART) to the island to relieve suffering in the Name of Jesus Christ. Using our DC-8 cargo plane, we airlifted heavy-duty shelter plastic, family hygiene kits, and blankets for thousands of families. Distributions are now underway.
An additional shipment of emergency supplies for more families—as well as a second DART—arrived Sept. 11 on St. Martin aboard the DC-8. The latest shipment included water purification units in addition to other supplies. We have more than 20 staff members on the ground working in St. Martin. Additional emergency flights will be arriving on other hard-hit Caribbean islands in the days ahead.
Samaritan’s Purse U.S. Disaster Relief has teams on the way to Florida to begin a relief response there. We will partner with churches around the hard-hit areas of Naples and Fort Myers. Our volunteers will perform mud-outs, chainsaw trees, and tarp roofs.
One of the most powerful Atlantic Ocean storms in recorded history, Irma made its first landfall Sept. 6, lashing the eastern Leeward Islands as a Category 5 storm. 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, Irma caused a total of 36 deaths according to the latest reports.
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 still without power. After flooding Jacksonville; Savannah, Georgia; and Charleston, South Carolina, the storm has now been downgraded to a tropical depression.
This is the first time that two Category 4 storms (Harvey and Irma) have made U.S. landfall in the same year. As the storm marches on, Samaritan’s Purse is prepared and ready to respond to assist people in hard-hit areas, across North America and around the world.
Samaritan's Purse responds to humanitarian crises with physical aid and a message of spiritual hope for victims of natural disasters, famine, poverty, and war. Your gift will allow us to share Jesus' love through clean water, food, shelter, medical supplies, personnel, and other aid.