Samaritan's Purse deploys disaster relief crews to Texas

Published: Aug. 26, 2017 at 9:06 PM EDT|Updated: Aug. 27, 2017 at 8:42 AM EDT
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BOONE, NC (WBTV) - Samaritan's Purse deployed two disaster relief units to Texas Friday in the wake of Hurricane Harvey.

The Christian organization provides aid to people in need after natural disasters and other emergency situations. Tim Haas, who is the manager of disaster relief for the organization, said they started preparing supplies on Tuesday and Wednesday before the hurricane had made landfall.

They do not expect their crews to make it to Texas until Sunday. The group plans to stay out of harms way as the storm still settles.

Once members get into areas with severe damage, they plan to set up an operational site at a local church and gather as many volunteers as they can.

"Because we are volunteer based, we have no idea how big this response will be," Haas said. "I won't be surprised at all to see people from all 50 states come to our sites to be a apart of this response."

RELATED: Gas prices expected to spike due to Hurricane Harvey

Crews were stocked with tools, chainsaws and emergency supplies. The organization will help families take the first steps in cleaning up the damage done to their homes. The organization is capable of tree removal, roof repairs and aiding in flood damage.

Other than volunteers, Samaritan's Purse says they need everyone's prayers for them, first responders and victims of the storm.

"The prayers of people are critical," Haas said.

In the past two years, the organization has responded in Texas nine times, six of which were flood responses.

The American Red Cross has also deployed hundreds of volunteers to aid in Texas. According to Angela Broome Powley, who is the regional CEO for the Western North Carolina region, the organization sent 1,000 volunteers from around the country to Texas. She says another 1,000  people are expected to deploy in the next few days.

Of those hundreds of Red Cross volunteers, 21 are from the Charlotte area. On Sunday, another Charlotte volunteer will leave for Texas and he is assigned to damage assessment.

"Part of his role is deciding how big the disaster area is, and what kind of needs the Red Cross will have to provide the next few weeks and months," Powley said.

They also have volunteers working at shelters, feeding locations and providing mental health support.

In partnership with Samaritan's Purse, the Billy Graham Rapid Response Team sent chaplains to Texas. A spokesperson with the organization said the chaplains arrived in New Braunfels, Texas on Saturday. The chaplains are ministering spiritual and emotional support to evacuees at a shelter.

Around 100 additional chaplains are standing by as the destruction is assessed.

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