Samaritan’s Purse deploys Disaster Relief Team to Help West Virginia Flood Victims (Press Release)

BOONE, N.C., June 27, 2016 —International Christian relief organization Samaritan's Purse is deploying a disaster response team along with a tractor-trailer stocked with tools and emergency supplies to West Virginia. Samaritan’s Purse staff and volunteers will provide aid to victims of the worst flooding the state has seen in a century and the deadliest flooding in the U.S. this year.

The North Carolina-based organization will help residents clean out their flood-damaged homes. Teams will tear out damaged drywall, remove flooring, clear debris and spray chemicals designed to stop mold growth.

A Samaritan’s Purse helicopter conducted a preliminary survey of the damage and assisted local authorities in search efforts Saturday and Sunday. (Available b-roll downloads are listed below.)

“This historic flood has killed at least 23 people and destroyed hundreds of homes,” said Franklin Graham, president of Samaritan’s Purse. “We are praying for everyone who has been affected, and we want to come alongside to show them God's love and help them recover from the storm.”

Heavy rains have pounded West Virginia, with the state receiving one-quarter of its annual rainfall in a day. Many homes have been inundated with several feet of water, and the governor has declared a state of emergency in 44 counties.

The tractor-trailer, one of the organization’s Disaster Relief Units, arrived today stocked with heavy-duty tarps, generators and other tools that will aid in the cleanup efforts. This unit and volunteer teams are based at Rhema Christian Center in Lewisburg, West Virginia, Samaritan’s Purse’s partner church for the response effort.

Interview Opportunities:

  • Tim Haas, manager of U.S. Disaster Relief for Samaritan’s Purse
  • Bruce Poss, program manager of U.S. Disaster Relief for Samaritan’s Purse (on-site in West Virginia)
  • Samaritan’s Purse volunteers

On-site Media Contact: Kaitlyn Lahm (828.406.0365)

B-ROLL (Courtesy of Samaritan’s Purse):

  • Download footage of aerial search efforts and damage assessment near White Sulphur Springs, W. Va.
  • Download footage of a Samaritan's Purse helicopter operating near White Sulphur Springs, W. Va.
  • Download footage of aerial and ground damage assessment, as well as chaplains from the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association praying with victims and responders, in White Sulphur Springs, W. Va.

A group of chaplains from the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association’s Rapid Response Team is also helping flood victims in West Virginia. They will be working alongside Samaritan’s Purse to provide emotional and spiritual encouragement.

Samaritan’s Purse has helped more than 29,000 families in 35 U.S. states following floods, hurricanes, tornadoes, fires and ice storms. Currently the organization’s U.S. disaster teams are responding to the massive flooding in Texas, and recently provided aid to victims of the deadly tornadoes in Mississippi and wildfires in California.