Samaritan’s Purse recently deployed teams to both Fort McMurray and Fort Vermilion to assist in disaster relief, and help support flood victims. The organization has sent its specially equipped Disaster Relief Unit, which includes equipment such as generators, pumps, hand tools, and safety gear, as well as equipment to protect volunteers from COVID-19.
Frank King, News Media Relations Manager for Samaritan’s Purse is currently in Fort McMurray and shared first hand the devastation that has affected thousands of residents.
“When you see the Athabasca River, you see just a crazy amount of gigantic ice blocks all over the place. They’re not actually in the river now which is a blessing and relief, but you can see how it caused the water level to rise.”
King also spoke of the damage to hundreds of homes, “I’ve been to some of the homes that we’re working on, and we’ve got at least 70 work orders that have come in from residents whose homes were flooded, many of them under 6 feet of water. We’ve had to rip out the ceiling tiles, as well as dry wall, fiberglass, and flooring. That’s how bad the situation has been here in Fort McMurray.”
The organization also serves as a volunteer coordination center, and are blessed by the amount of volunteers that have generously donated their time to assist in flood relief. There has been volunteers come from as far as Vancouver to help with the situation. Samaritan’s Purse is still looking for volunteers in Fort McMurray that are able to come along side them and help clean up damaged homes.
As part of their disaster response, Samaritan’s Purse’s “sister” organization the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association of Canada has provided crisis-trained chaplains to comfort and pray with flood victims, first responders, and volunteers.
King says, “The team has also had the opportunity to sit and listen to stories, and when appropriate and given permission, pray with them, present the gospel and invite them to have that saving relationship with Jesus Christ.”
Anyone needing Samaritan’s Purse clean-up assistance can call 1-833-738-7743 (in Fort McMurray), or 1-866-628-6565 (in the Fort Vermilion area).
Written by Sheila Meikle
Help Samaritan's Purse respond quickly to victims of disasters within Canada, providing not only physical assistance as people clean up and rebuild after floods, fires, and other disasters, but also emotional and spiritual support in the aftermath of tragedy.