Samaritan’s Purse Airlifts Field Hospital to Alaska

June 1, 2020 • United States

We have sent medical equipment and supplies to help prevent a coronavirus outbreak among remote fishing communities.

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Samaritan’s Purse airlifted a 30-bed Emergency Field Hospital and critical medical supplies to King Salmon, Alaska, on June 1 in advance of a possible COVID-19 outbreak. The threat is expected to significantly rise this summer as more than 10,000 fishermen and cannery workers from around the world descend upon the Bristol Bay region.

Teams unload the DC-8 today in King Salmon, Alaska.

Teams unload the DC-8 in King Salmon, Alaska.

Many of Bristol Bay Borough’s approximately 1,000 permanent residents are Alaska Natives. The community still remembers the devastating effects of the 1918 Spanish flu on their population. Any coronavirus spike could overwhelm the local healthcare capacity and prove devastating for those who call this remote area home.

“I first came to Alaska in 1970; Alaska has been in my blood ever since. It’s a great joy to be in a position to help them here,” said Samaritan’s Purse President Franklin Graham from King Salmon. “We like to be ready, and that’s why we are here today to bring the field hospital. If COVID-19 becomes an issue, we can set it up. We are here in Jesus’ Name.”

We are deploying this Emergency Field Hospital at the request of the state of Alaska. If an outbreak does occur and it is necessary to set up the facility, our teams are ready to provide excellent, compassionate care in Jesus’ Name.

Franklin Graham met with our team in King Salmon.

Franklin Graham met with our team in King Salmon.

Samaritan’s Purse also sent two, 8-bed units to support local medical clinics as needed. Portions of these units were on the DC-8. Our medical personnel will staff these units when called upon.

This is the third time we have deployed a field hospital in recent months. Our coronavirus response began in March when we sent hospitals to both New York City and Cremona, Italy, in order to provide critical care for people seriously ill with COVID-19. We treated hundreds of patients at each location.

Also, in April, Samaritan’s Purse airlifted 8.8 tons of critical medical supplies for native villages in Alaska, including over 20,000 N95 masks, 43 hospital beds, and more than 5,000 gloves.

Staff on the ground continue to coordinate with federal, state, and local officials to organize an effective response. Please continue to pray for our teams in Alaska as they work in Jesus’ Name.

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We began today receiving patients at the respiratory care unit.
Emergency Medicine Your gift will enable Samaritan’s Purse to provide life-saving medical care (including doctors, nurses, respirators, and other essential equipment) in places where vulnerable communities are suffering in the wake of disaster or from outbreaks of infectious diseases like COVID-19. We also offer public health outreaches to prevent the spread of life-threatening illnesses. Most importantly, we are able to bring the Gospel message of eternal hope to those who are suffering and afraid.

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