There's still "much work to be done" over at least the next six months in Florida in the wake of Hurricane Ian, Samaritan's Purse Vice President of Operations Edward Graham said Monday on Newsmax.
In an interview on "John Bachman Now," Graham, son of Samaritan's Purse leader Franklin Graham — and grandson of the late evangelist Billy Graham — said workers are primarily concentrated in communities around the Fort Myers area.
"Ian was just devastating," Edward Graham said. "Samaritan's Purse responded immediately by sending our teams down there. We've got three teams set up in Fort Myers, Inglewood and Punta Gorda, and we worked through the local churches there."
The effort has included sending equipment to those sites as well, he said, adding that the role of volunteers is crucial.
"This is where the volunteers come in — they muck-out homes," Graham said. "A lot of flooding is in there just because of the mouth of the river where that storm surge came in… created a lot of flooding. You have wind damage, so tarping of roofs, cutting trees back — these are what the volunteers come in and do and we do this because we love our neighbors."
But Graham said it's "just not the physical need" that's being addressed.
"There is a spiritual need as well and people are hurting and they're struggling," he said. "People have lost loved ones. They lost their homes and communities. And so [when] people just ask why you're there, we're here because we love you."
He said many seek solace in group prayer as well.
"We have the Billy Graham Rapid Response chaplains that go out from the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association," he said. "They're trained … how to share hope during a time of crisis. Samaritan's Purse will probably be doing disaster leave for six months, then transition to rebuild."
"We worked at a local church with feeding with medical needs," he added.
"So it's all about the church."
He noted Samaritan's Purse is also working in Ukraine, where they've set up an emergency field hospital to help out after Russians destroyed the standing hospital as they pulled out.
"We're serving them now eventually will help transition that hospital back to the Ukrainians, but we're also feeding large portions of food… metric tons of food each week."
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