Samaritan's Purse Responding to COVID-19 Crisis in Italy

BOONE, N.C., March 16, 2020

DC-8 Cargo Plane To Airlift Emergency Field Hospital, Medical Team, and Critical Aid

Tomorrow, the Samaritan's Purse DC-8 will airlift a 68-bed Emergency Field Hospital to northern Italy. The cargo plane will carry approximately 20 tons of medical equipment, a specialized respiratory care unit developed specifically in response to COVID-19, and 32 disaster response specialists including respiratory therapists, doctors, and nurses. The Emergency Field Hospital will be set up just outside of Milan, Italy, where the coronavirus pandemic has overwhelmed the local medical infrastructure, leaving many families without access to critical care. The country is now reporting hundreds of deaths each day.

The Samaritan's Purse International Health Unit has closely monitored the COVID-19 outbreak since it began.

“We are going to Italy to provide life-saving care in Jesus’ Name to people who are suffering,” said Franklin Graham, president of Samaritan's Purse. “There is a lot of fear and panic around the world, but we put our trust in God—and we want to share that hope with others. Please continue to pray for everyone affected by this global health crisis and for our medical team as they respond.”

As Samaritan’s Purse deploys to Italy, the disaster response team continues to monitor the developing situation and is prepared to respond in the U.S. if asked. Our infectious disease experts have been working in coordination with the World Health Organization (WHO) and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to ensure the team is taking necessary precautions.

Media Opportunities

  • Interview Edward Graham, assistant to the Vice President of Programs and Government Relations
  • Interview Dr. Elliott Tenpenny, COVID-19 response manager at the organization’s international headquarters
  • Broadcast-quality b-roll will be available upon request
  • High-res photos of the Samaritan’s Purse DC-8 being loaded are available here
  • Download broadcast-quality b-roll of Samaritan's Purse U.S. Disaster Relief.

Media Contact

The Emergency Field Hospital is mobile and prepared for rapid deployment to provide emergency medical relief in disaster-stricken areas where the medical infrastructure is damaged, overwhelmed, or nonexistent. It is designed to be customizable, which means that each response is unique and tailored to the needs of the people in a disaster-stricken area. The COVID-19 response will utilize a new layout and specialized equipment to provide the highest level of respiratory care to patients who are suffering from the virus.

Based in Boone, North Carolina, Samaritan's Purse responds to the physical and spiritual needs of individuals in crisis situations—especially in locations where few others are working. Led by President and CEO Franklin Graham, Samaritan’s Purse works in more than 100 countries to provide aid to victims of war, disease, disaster, poverty, famine and persecution. For more information, visit