CHARLOTTE, N.C., Sept. 15, 2017 Prior to the impact of Hurricane Irma in Florida and the southeastern United States, the Billy Graham Rapid Response Team began making plans to deploy crisis-trained chaplains into areas that were devastated by the historic storm. Now that the hurricane has passed and it has become possible to proceed with the recovery process, the ministry has moved forward with staging chaplains in Fort Myers and Naples.
The organization is also dispatching chaplains to shelters in Tallahassee, Jacksonville, Tampa and Cocoa Beach.
“People left their homes quickly during the evacuation, and now in many cases those homes are badly damaged or completely destroyed. For many, their jobs, plans and dreams have been washed away,” said Jack Munday, international director of the Billy Graham Rapid Response Team. “Our desire is to listen, encourage and offer God’s hope and comfort as they begin the long process of rebuilding their lives from this tragedy.”
The Billy Graham Rapid Response Team is deploying in coordination with Samaritan’s Purse, the Christian disaster relief organization also headed by Franklin Graham. Together the two ministries will address the physical, emotional and spiritual needs of those who have been affected.
“This morning my prayers are with the many who are waking up to their homes and businesses devastated by Irma’s wind and water,” said Graham on his Facebook page earlier this week. “They will now be facing an overwhelming clean-up. Reports say up to 5.5 million people are without power in Florida. I pray especially for those who have lost loved ones in the storm. I know they would appreciate your prayers as well.”
The Billy Graham Rapid Response Team continues to have a widespread presence in Texas following Hurricane Harvey, with chaplains working in the communities of Houston, Santa Fe, Pearland, Victoria and Portland/Rockport. The organization has also had a presence in several of the shelters in the Houston area. A total of 158 chaplains have prayed with and comforted more than 9,200 people in Texas since the impact of Harvey.
For more information on the ministry, including videos, photos, news articles and an interactive map of former and current deployments, visit. Updates can also be found at www.facebook.com/RRTChaplains.
About the Billy Graham Rapid Response Team:
The Billy Graham Rapid Response Team was developed by Franklin Graham and the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association following the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. It has since grown into an international network of chaplains in the U.S., U.K., Canada and Australia who are specifically trained to deal with crisis situations. They have deployed to more than 260 disaster sites, including shootings, floods, hurricanes, wildfires and tornadoes.