DALLAS — Samaritan’s Purse announced on Aug. 27 that it has deployed teams to Louisiana following Hurricane Laura last week, which made its way across the state as a Category 4 storm, leaving destruction in its wake. On Aug. 30, USA Today reported that 14 people have died because of the storm.

Disaster response specialists are currently working alongside local government officials and church partners to determine the areas of greatest need. One Disaster Relief Unit, stocked with relief supplies and tools, is in Lake Charles, La., and another tractor-trailer is standing by.

Before the storm hit, Samaritan’s Purse, the Boone-based international Christian relief organization, staged disaster response teams and equipment at its Southwest Ministry Center in Dallas, Texas, ready to rapidly respond to hurting communities immediately following the storm.

“Louisiana families are struggling after Hurricane Laura caused severe damage to homes,” said Franklin Graham, president of Samaritan’s Purse. “Please continue to pray for everyone in the storm’s path and our teams as they prepare to provide critical relief to people who are hurting.”

On Aug. 29, Alyssa Benson, media relations coordinator for Samaritan’s Purse, said that the COVID-19 pandemic has changed the way that the organization is able to respond to natural disasters. She said that the company has put “additional protocols” in place to protect its employees and volunteers, as well as the communities that they are in.

“Ultimately, our mission is the same — providing critical relief to suffering people in need in Jesus’ name. Despite the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, people are relying on us and our work cannot stop,” Benson said. “In fact, in many ways it is more important than ever for us to help those around the world who are devastated by natural and man-made disasters, war, poverty and disease. In all of our work, we are following local, state and national guidelines to help protect the health of those we serve as well as our staff and volunteers. This includes wearing masks, social distancing, taking temperatures, monitoring for any symptoms and testing as needed.”

Additionally, Benson said, there is a dedicated team in place to monitor employees’ health “before, during and after deployments.”

“Employees are also required to self-monitor continuously for symptoms and turn in a log of daily temperature checks at day seven and day 14 upon return from their deployment. In the event that an employee experiences symptoms, they are required to call our dedicated team immediately for further guidance,” she said.

To learn more about Samaritan’s Purse and its current projects, visit www.samaritanspurse.org.

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