By Michael Ireland, Senior Correspondent, ASSIST News Service (www.assistnews.net)
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (ANS, June 27, 2016) – Hours after devastating and deadly floods caused widespread damage in the state, crisis-trained chaplains with the Billy Graham Rapid Response Team deployed to West Virginia on Friday.
According to news reports, 24 people died in what has been considered the worst flood the state has seen in the last 100 years. West Virginia Governor Earl Ray Tomblin has declared a state of emergency in 44 counties.
“The images that we saw on television were just devastating,” said Jack Munday, international director of the Billy Graham Rapid Response Team. “Houses on fire or broken into shambles and tumbling down a current of floodwater. Each one of those images represents a family that has lost everything—in some cases, loved ones.
“We are in West Virginia to offer hope and help meet the needs of the homeowners and flood survivors.”
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.
Graham, on his Facebook page, asked for prayer. “The scope of damage is immense. In a matter of hours, some people lost everything they had worked their whole lives for. Join me in praying God’s comfort for those who have been hard hit—especially the families who have tragically lost loved ones.”
The Billy Graham Rapid Response Team has already ministered in the wake of several floods in Missouri, Louisiana and Texas this year. Additionally, on Sunday, June 26, the chaplains concluded their efforts in Orlando following the mass shooting at the Pulse nightclub.
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 a nationwide network of chaplains in 48 states who are specifically trained to deal with crisis situations. They have deployed to more than 225 disaster sites, including shootings, floods, hurricanes, wildfires and tornadoes.
For more information on the ministry, including videos, photos, news articles and an interactive map of former and current deployments, visit BillyGraham.org/RRT. Updates can also be found at Facebook.com/RRTChaplains.
Photo captions: 1) A Coast Guard team helps locals to safety near Clendenin, West Virginia, on June 24, 2016. (Photo: 1) Petty Officer 3rd Class Lora Ratliff / U.S. Coast Guard). 2) Michael Ireland.
About the Writer: Michael Ireland is a volunteer internet journalist serving as Senior Correspondent for the ASSIST News Service, as well as an Ordained Minister who has served with ASSIST Ministries and written for ASSIST News Service (www.assistnews.net) since its beginning in 1989. He has reported for ANS from Jamaica, Mexico, Nicaragua, Israel, Jordan, China, and Russia.
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