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Samaritan's Purse, an Evangelical Christian humanitarian relief organization, has set up locations along the Florida Panhandle and in Albany, Georgia, this past week, to help in the areas affected by Hurricane Michael. The Category 4 storm wreaked havoc to residents in these and other neighboring regions a week ago.
The death total was at 19 as of today and expected to climb higher. The hurricane slammed northwest Florida, centralizing in Mexico Beach, which is a beach community that was mostly flattened. Trees were ripped out of the ground, homes were leveled, and the wreckage was described as a 'war zone'.
Led by Evangelist Franklin Graham, teams of volunteers roamed communities hardest hit in Florida and Georgia. Vicki Olive, a homeowner, told Samaritan's Purse in a video that she had seen people on television describe the aftermath of a natural disaster as a war zone, but it wasn't until her cottage was ripped apart that she really understood what they meant. Bob Scott, another homeowner, described the Panhandle after the storm as "apocalyptic."
Sylvia Philips, a Georgia homeowner for over 40 years, testified of witnessing similar scenes. In a video documenting relief efforts in Georgia, Sylvia explained, "This is the most devastating and catastrophic storm that I have ever witnessed. We're just overwhelmed by the damage that it has caused."
Tim Hass of Samaritan's Purse, said in a video which documented some of the relief efforts, that the aid organization wasn't there just to help with the damage and the debris, but to instill hope in the residents who have lost so much. According to their website, Samaritan's Purse has already received more than 640 work orders for affected areas.
Hass stated, "The most important thing is that as we are here, we are having an impact in these people's lives and that we're here to tell them that there's hope on the way. We're here to tell them that Jesus loves them, that they're not forgotten. Samaritan's Purse is going to be here for quite a while". Hass then asked for more volunteers saying, "We are going to need your help. We're going to need your prayer support. We are going to need volunteers for months to come".
Samaritan's Purse is accepting donations that will contribute to their relief efforts in Georgia as well as Florida. The charitable Christian organization is working with homeowners to put tarps on roofs, aid in general clean-up efforts, and chainsaw trees and other debris from homes and yards.