U.S. Disaster Relief gears up to respond as Hurricane Matthew brings high winds, storm surges, and heavy rain to East Coast
Matthew was downgraded to a post-tropical cyclone this morning as it veered off the coast of North Carolina. It is expected to dissipate completely early this week. The storm has claimed as many as 19 lives in the U.S., with the death toll still in flux.
Hurricane Matthew, a Category 1 storm with maximum sustained winds of 75 mph, battered Florida, Georgia, and the Carolinas with drenching rain and high waves. Record-breaking flooding is occurring in eastern North Carolina. More than 1,000 people have had to be rescued in the Tar Heel State. Parts of Cumberland County, home to Fayetteville and Fort Bragg, received as many as 15 inches of rain.
Waters are still rising—and may continue to do so for days. Some reports indicate this could be the worst flooding in North Carolina since Hurricane Floyd in 1999.
The powerful storm officially made landfall late Saturday morning between Charleston and Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.
Samaritan’s Purse staff are conducting assessments in Georgia and the Carolinas as they gain entry. Many communities remain closed to homeowners and others. Pray for our teams as they develop a response plan.
Our disaster relief units—tractor-trailers packed with equipment and supplies—are stocked and ready to roll. Billy Graham Rapid Response Team chaplains are prepared to deploy with our teams.
Please be diligent in prayer for the people affected by this deadly storm. Ask God to use our staff and volunteers to bring comfort and meet the physical needs of homeowners. Most important, pray that many people would repent and place their faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.
Florida, as a whole, was not hit as badly as some feared, because the storm stayed offshore. Based on our field assessments, local responders should be able to meet community needs.
Samaritan’s Purse is assessing damage across the Southeast. We’re in touch with local officials and stand ready to respond to help those affected in Jesus’ Name.
“We are already preparing our U.S. Disaster Relief tractor-trailer units, packing them with supplies that we’ll need,” explained Luther Harrison, vice president of North American Ministries for Samaritan’s Purse. “We’re also contacting church partners in Florida, Georgia, South and North Carolina, informing them of the potential need for volunteers.”
Close to two million people evacuated the southeast Atlantic coast, seeking safety and shelter.
“This storm will kill you,” Florida Governor Rick Scott warned Florida residents as he ordered evacuations.
Current forecast models indicate Matthew may turn north-northwest and buzz-saw up the Eastern seaboard.
Hundreds have already died as the powerful storm ripped through the Caribbean region. Its fierce winds and pelting rains hammered Haiti, clipped eastern Cuba, and then bashed the Bahamas.
For more than 25 years, Samaritan’s Purse has been providing disaster relief following powerful hurricanes, including Sandy in 2012, Ike in 2008, and Katrina in 2005.
Please pray for God’s divine intervention and His protection. Also pray that the evacuation will go smoothly and that people will find shelter and remain safe. And pray for Samaritan’s Purse as we evaluate the situation and determine when and where to deploy and bring relief in Jesus’ Name.
Details on volunteering, once available, will be posted at SPVolunteerNetwork.
This article was originally published on October 6. Last updated: October 9 at 9:34 p.m.