Franklin Graham’s Samaritan’s Purse has dispatched an emergency field hospital to Italy to help care for people infected with COVID-19.
The evangelist and president of the organization announced the disaster relief move on his Facebook Tuesday morning.
“Early this morning, Samaritan’s Purse dispatched one of our 68-bed Emergency Field Hospitals to Cremona, Italy, which has the fastest-growing infection rates of Coronavirus in that country,” Graham wrote.
“The hospitals there are overwhelmed and unable to treat all of the sick.”
The DC-8 aircraft carried about 20 tons of medical equipment, a respiratory care unit and 32 disaster-relief personnel who will stay in the country for at least a month, according to a news release on the Samaritan’s Purse website.
“We are committed to being there as long as there is a need,” Graham wrote in his Facebook post.
Kelly Sites, a disaster assistance response nurse, told WXII-TV, “a lot of things change rapidly, conditions change rapidly.”
“We know to expect that, so we’re all prepared with everything that we need on the flight, so we’ll hit the ground running,” she added.
The mobile facility will be set up quickly near the Lombardy region, where about two-thirds of coronavirus deaths have occurred, according to Samaritan’s Purse.
“We are always ready to provide critical relief in the face of crisis,” Graham said in the release.
“There is a lot of fear and panic around the world, but we trust that God is in control. We continue to pray for everyone affected by this global health crisis and for our medical team as they respond.”
As of Tuesday, there have been 27,980 cases of coronavirus in Italy resulting in 2,158 fatalities.
Samaritan’s Purse is also the first international organization to provide emergency medical relief to families in northern Italy, according to the release.
“We have an unbelievable staff willing to do this and share the hope of Jesus Christ along with their medical expertise,” Franklin Graham’s son Edward Graham said. “Medicine is a magnet for the Gospel.”
Franklin Graham added, “This is the work God has called us to and we want to share the love of Christ and the truth that ‘God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.'”
Samaritan’s Purse ended its news release with a request for prayers for its medical team and the patients they will treat.
“Pray for the sick and their families around the world, and that this pandemic will soon come to an end,” the release read.
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