Three Hurricane Relief Bases Set Up; Hundreds of Volunteers Working

September 24, 2018 • United States
Volunteers continue to work in New Bern, Jacksonville, and Wilmington where Hurricane Florence caused devastated wind and water damage.

Samaritan's Purse has established three relief bases in eastern North Carolina in response to Florence's powerful punch. The storm made landfall Sept. 14 as a Category 1 hurricane—bringing sustained 90 mph winds and heavy rains. Flooding continues.

THE LATEST (September 24, 11:01 a.m.)
Samaritan’s Purse remains at work in areas around New Bern, Jacksonville, and Wilmington where residents are still reeling from the devastation brought by Florence.

We praise God our volunteers have already been able to serve many homeowners in Jesus’ Name. We’ve received nearly 2,000 work orders from the three sites, nearly 1,500 volunteers have helped more than 130 families, and 13 people have made decisions to follow Jesus Christ. Please continue to pray for homeowners, emergency workers, and our staff and volunteers as needs pour in from surrounding communities.

The death toll attributed to the storm has grown to 44, and river levels continue to rise in portions of the Carolinas.

This will be the final update to this page. To learn more about our relief efforts in North Carolina, you can read an article about New Bern here and Jacksonville here. Additional stories will be posted at through the coming weeks. Please also see our Hurricane Florence relief landing page, where a number of encouraging videos are being posted.

(Sept. 21, 10:40 a.m.)
Samaritan’s Purse continues to work in New Bern, Wilmington, and Jacksonville. Nearly 600 volunteers have helped homeowners clean out their flooded homes, removing debris, belongings, and soaked walls and flooring. We’ve received 1,300 work orders at our three sites. We ask you to keep these communities in your prayers as we continue to help them in Jesus’ Name.

The remains of floodwater still fill many streets where our volunteer teams are cleaning out flooded homes in Jacksonville, N.C.

The remains of floodwater still fill many streets where our volunteer teams are cleaning out flooded homes in Jacksonville, N.C.

(Sept. 20, 10:07 a.m.)

Volunteers are out in full force today across eastern North Carolina: New Bern, Wilmington, and Jacksonville.

So, far more than 425 people have served with Samaritan’s Purse! We’ve gotten around 800+ work orders, so we know there are many homeowners in need of help. Come serve in Jesus’ Name!

While Florence has moved on, some rivers continue to rise. Please keep the Carolinas in your prayers.

(Sept. 19, 3:25 p.m.)

Samaritan’s Purse is on the ground working from three hard-hit locations in eastern North Carolina: New Bern, Wilmington, and Jacksonville.

More than 150 volunteers have served with us already. Billy Graham Rapid Response Team chaplains are working alongside Samaritan’s Purse teams, and we praise God for two salvations reported so far.

We are assessing other hurricane-affected locations for the possibility of an additional deployment.

Florence has moved out to sea and dissipated, but rivers continue to rise in the Carolinas. Many roads remain closed. Thousands of people are in shelters. Thirty-seven storm-related deaths—27 of them in North Carolina—have been reported.

Please keep praying for affected families and for our response. To learn about our early work in New Bern, which included volunteer service by North Carolina Lt. Governor Dan Forest, read this article.

(Sept. 18 5:19 p.m.)

Samaritan’s Purse volunteer teams are working today at all three of our eastern North Carolina response sites—New Bern, Jacksonville, and Wilmington. We’re helping homeowners in Jesus’ Name by clearing debris, doing chainsaw work, tarping roofs, and mudding out flooded houses.

North Carolina Lt. Governor Dan Forest, his son Jake, and his staff volunteered with Samaritan’s Purse today in New Bern.

Millions of people remain under flood watches and warnings as rivers continue to crest in the region. More than a dozen rivers are reported at “major” flood stage.

Multiple locations received as much as two feet of water or more from Hurricane Florence and its downgraded variants; Elizabethtown, near Fayetteville, North Carolina, received a record-setting 35.93 inches of rain—the greatest amount ever from a single tropical system in the state.


A number of tornadoes were spawned in Virginia by the outer bands of the storm on Monday, Sept. 17.

There have been 33 deaths reported as linked to this storm—26 in North Carolina, six in South Carolina, and one in Virginia. Florence made landfall near Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina, on Sept. 14 as a Category 1 hurricane. After crawling west across the Carolinas, the storm turned north.

Please continue praying for those affected by the storm, and for our teams as they serve.

Sept. 17, 7:39 p.m.

Samaritan’s Purse has now established three relief bases in eastern North Carolina: New Bern, Wilmington, and Jacksonville.

Our staff and volunteer teams are out in full force today around New Bern, working to clean and restore damaged houses. Port City Community Church (a multisite congregation) is hosting our personnel and one of our disaster relief units at 2840 Neuse Blvd. Thousands of homes have been affected in this hard-hit small town.

We’re also in Jacksonville and Wilmington, where teams will soon begin clearing debris and mudding out flooded houses in Jesus’ Name. Volunteers can start tomorrow at both locations. As in New Bern, Port City Community Church will host us (and our disaster relief units). The two locations are: 501 Anne St. in Jacksonville and 250 Vision Dr. in Wilmington.

Florence has dumped trillions of gallons of water on North Carolina alone. Rivers continue to crest in parts of the Tar Heel state, and flooding is expected throughout the week in many communities.

As a result of the deluge, parts of I-95 and I-40 are closed to traffic.

Wilmington, a city of 117,000, is only connected to the rest of the state by one road, which is being used to carry in supplies and assistance.

The death toll has risen to 20. Please continue to pray for these hard-hit areas.

Sept. 16, 8:41 p.m.

Samaritan’s Purse staff, two disaster relief units, and equipment are in eastern North Carolina to serve homeowners in the areas hardest hit by Florence. We have established our first relief base at Port City Community Church in New Bern. The mayor there reported more than 4,000 homes damaged. Volunteers officially begin tomorrow, Sept. 17—some already started on Sunday.

Florence has now been downgraded to a tropical depression. However, up to 10 more inches of rain are being forecast for the western parts of North Carolina and Virginia today. The record-breaking storm already dumped 20 inches of rain or more in numerous locations across eastern North Carolina. The town of Swansboro has reported nearly 34 inches, the most ever for a single tropical system in the Tar Heel State.

Flooding is the primary threat over the next couple days. Flash flood warnings are in effect. Rivers continue to rise. For instance, the Cape Fear River at Fayetteville is already at almost 40 feet—minor flood stage—on Sunday at noon. It is predicted to rise to more than 62 feet by Tuesday morning, according to the National Weather Service.

At least 18 storm-related deaths have been reported. More than 900 people have had to be rescued from rising waters in North Carolina since the storm began its assault on the state.

Rebuilding could cost billions.

Sept. 15, 10:50 p.m.

Samaritan’s Purse North American Ministries staff, along with two disaster relief units and other equipment, left our North Wilkesboro facilities this morning headed for eastern North Carolina. One team will pre-stage in New Bern and the other in Wilmington. They will await the go-ahead from local authorities before beginning their assessments.

One of our disaster relief units leads a convoy of our trucks toward eastern North Carolina on Saturday.

One of our disaster relief units leads a convoy of our trucks toward eastern North Carolina on Saturday.

Once these assessments have been completed and deployment locations have been solidified, our staff and teams of volunteers will help homeowners with cleanup in a variety of ways—tarping roofs, chainsaw work, and mud-outs. Our task is to serve as the hands and feet of Jesus for those in need in the hardest hit areas.

Adding to the damage already done, Florence—now a tropical storm—continues to bring heavy rains to the Carolinas. Some parts of North Carolina are forecast to receive up to 40 inches of rain this weekend and into Monday—the town of Swansboro has already reported over 30 inches. Sections of both I-95 and I-40 are closed due to the weather; almost a million people are without power.

The storm is far from over and continues tracking west through South Carolina at a crawl. Widespread, catastrophic flooding is predicted; rivers may not crest for another three to five days. Southwestern Virginia may also be affected. Samaritan’s Purse staff will continue to monitor Florence and prepare to respond in additional storm-affected areas, as needed.

Convoy of disaster relief trucks headed to eastern NC from Samaritan's Purse

At least 11 deaths have been attributed to this storm so far. President Donald Trump has declared eight counties in North Carolina to be a disaster area.

Please pray for residents in Florence’s path and for our staff as they serve in Jesus’ Name.

Sept. 14, 5:17 p.m.

Hurricane Florence made landfall Friday morning at Category 1 strength near Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina, east of Wilmington. The storm brought sustained 90 mph winds and heavy rains to the coast.

Downgraded now to a tropical storm with sustained winds around 70 mph, Florence still packs a powerful punch. Certain parts of the Carolinas are predicted to receive up to 40 inches of rain this weekend, which forecasters say is likely to cause terrible flooding, especially since the region has already received above average precipitation this summer.

Storm surge has proven destructive in some coastal towns, and a number of water rescues have taken place, notably in New Bern, North Carolina. Hundreds of thousands of people are already without power. Four deaths have been reported due to the storm.

Samaritan’s Purse North American Ministries is poised and ready to respond in Jesus’ Name with staff, equipment, and disaster relief units—tractor trailers filled with tools and supplies. Preparations for deployment are already well underway, and we have been in regular contact with our partners along the path of the storm. Teams of volunteers will soon be mobilized to help homeowners with cleanup. Billy Graham Rapid Respond Team chaplains will also be called on to serve.

The Carolinas began to feel the brunt of the storm Thursday, and the pounding will continue for days. Florence is moving slowly, a sign that significant flooding could occur.

The storm will affect millions of people, including those relatively far from the coast. Forecast models extend the hurricane’s impact as far as from Georgia all the way up into New England by Tuesday.

“This is not going to be a glancing blow,” FEMA’s Jeff Byard said, as widely reported on Wednesday. “This is going to be a Mike Tyson punch to the Carolina coast.”

More than 1 million people were told to evacuate in the face of the storm. The governors in both Carolinas, Georgia, Virginia, and Maryland have declared states of emergency. President Donald Trump has issued federal emergency declarations for both North and South Carolina.

“Life-threatening freshwater flooding is likely from a prolonged and exceptionally heavy rainfall event,” the National Weather Service advised.

Please pray as this powerful storm blasts the Carolinas. Pray for safety for residents and for our preparations to respond.

Note: This story was originally published Sept. 11 and has been updated from Sept. 12-24.