Floods Across Southeast Prompt Billy Graham Rapid Response Team Deployment
Death Toll Rises, Hundreds in Shelters as Chaplains Prepare to Minister to Victims
CHARLOTTE, N.C. – The Billy Graham Rapid Response Team of crisis-trained chaplains are preparing to deploy to Georgia to assist in the recovery from recent storms that dropped up to 20 inches of rain in some locations and left significant damage across the Southeast U.S. According to news reports, nine people have died in the storms and subsequent flooding, and approximately 300 people are being helped in shelters across the north Georgia region. The Billy Graham Rapid Response Team will deploy in coordination with Samaritan’s Purse, the international relief organization headed by Franklin Graham, who is also president and CEO of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association. Together, the two groups will meet the physical, emotional and spiritual needs of those who have been affected by the flooding. “Many families have lost everything that they’ve worked for, and it’s very common to feel devastated and hopeless during this time of great loss,” said Jack Munday, director of the Billy Graham Rapid Response Team. “That’s why it is very important that we come alongside them as they are going through this dark valley and offer them hope and compassion.” This deployment is the 20th in 2009 for the Billy Graham Rapid Response Team, following a spring season that saw back-to-back shooting tragedies in Oakland, Calif., Carthage, N.C., Binghamton, N.Y. and Maryville, Ill., as well as widespread flooding, tornadoes and ice storms across several parts of the country. The Billy Graham Rapid Response Team has also deployed internationally in 2009 to Australia after wildfires, Brazil after floods, and Italy after the earthquake. The most recent deployment recently ended in Louisville, Ky., where flash flooding brought widespread home devastation on August 4. Over the course of three weeks, chaplains in Louisville prayed with and comforted more than 300 victims of the flood. The Billy Graham Rapid Response Team is a nationwide network of more than 3,000 chaplains across 40 states that are specifically trained to deal with crisis situations. Since the ministry was launched in 2002, it has deployed following dozens of natural and man-made disasters, including hurricanes, tornadoes, floods, fires and shootings. About BGEA From its headquarters in Charlotte, N.C., the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association runs a wide range of domestic and international ministries, including: large-scale festivals led by evangelists Franklin Graham and Will Graham; Dare to Be a Daniel, a youth evangelism training project; My Hope World Evangelism Through Television; the Billy Graham Rapid Response Team of crisis-trained chaplains; and many others through print, television, telephone, radio and the Internet. For more information, please visit www.billygraham.org. Get BGEA news updates on Twitter @ Twitter.com/BGEAMediaPR.