'It's Like a War Zone'
September 10, 2019
The numbers are staggering, emergency crews say. The official Hurricane Dorian death toll in the Bahamas may be listed at 50, but experts warn that the number is about to skyrocket. Volunteers are still desperately trying to work their way through the rubble to find thousands of survivors, every second counting. The heart-wrenching pleas are everywhere, even scribbled on wreckage, asking for missing children to call home. "It's like a war zone," said a Charleston volunteer soberly. "I shed some tears when I got here."
For the 70,000 people in the island nation, the tears are ongoing. They've lost their homes, and some, so much more. Cissie Lynch, Franklin Graham's daughter, joined me on radio Monday to update us on the latest from Samaritan's Purse, whose teams are already on the ground, building an emergency field hospital. But everything, Cissie said, is twice as difficult to do when you're working around collapsed houses and fallen trees. Unfortunately, I know from personal experience that the pictures we're getting back here in the states are just as devastating as they appear. Even then, the camera can't capture everything.
"The conditions are very rough, obviously... [and] it's hot. It's muggy. Just no electricity, no water, no food. But the hardest thing is the distribution of it. Like you said, these are islands... are the [toughest] ones to get to. So we have to work out of Freeport and Nassau and then take smaller planes or barges into the hardest hit areas." After working around the clock to set up a make-shift ICU and ER, the crew will see its first patients today.
If you've never experienced a natural disaster like this one, it's hard to put into words the helplessness and despair people begin to experience in the days after a storm. Having groups on the ground like Samaritan's Purse, who know exactly what needs to be done and can respond to it quickly -- with an encouraging word -- makes all the difference in the world.
When I asked Cissie what our listeners could do, she said the best thing was for people to go to the Samaritan's Purse website and social media pages for the most up-to-date information. Donate, if you can. And, most importantly, pray. "Obviously, at this stage, the best way to be involved is to pray. You know, the power of prayer. These people lost everything. Our staff will be on the ground for a long time with very harsh conditions."
We can all be part of the recovery efforts. Join FRC in lifting up the men and women of Samaritan's Purse as they deliver hope and healing to so many hurting people. Then, if you can, give or volunteer. The need is great -- but as we all know, God is greater.
Tony Perkins's Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC senior writers.