The Billy Graham Rapid Response Team (RRT) is sending crisis-trained chaplains to Nassau, Bahamas, to serve at a Samaritan’s Purse Emergency Field Hospital in the midst of a COVID-19 outbreak.
On Tuesday, the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO)/World Health Organization (WHO) said the current COVID-19 outbreak in the Bahamas presents a risk to both “national and international public health.”
Dr. Esther de Gourville, PAHO/WHO representative in the Bahamas, cited an eight-fold rise in coronavirus deaths since July as well as a shift toward younger people contracting and dying from the disease. She also warned that the current outbreak is expected to spread from three to 14 Bahama islands by the end of October.
At the request of the Bahamian Prime Minster Dr. Hubert Minnis, Samaritan’s Purse and the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association agreed to send teams to the country’s capital to offer physical, spiritual and emotional help during this health crisis.
“Hospital staff are overwhelmed and exhausted as the number of coronavirus patients in the Bahamas reaches an all-time high,” Franklin Graham said. “Our teams respond to the hard places in Jesus’ Name; this is the right place to go to make a difference in the lives of hurting families.”
Although always prepared to respond to crises at a moment’s notice, this is the first year that RRT chaplains have been called on to help during a pandemic.
“These coronavirus deployments are groundbreaking and different than anything we have done before,” said Josh Holland, RRT’s assistant director. “We have deployed to more than 450 natural and man-made disasters, but until this year we had never responded to a health crisis.”
Last year, more than 100 Billy Graham chaplains served in four locations across the Bahamas following Hurricane Dorian, a Category 5 storm that killed at least 70 islanders.
“We consider it a blessing for our chaplains to return to the islands to serve alongside Samaritan’s Purse with the opportunity to share the hope found in Jesus Christ with the doctors, nurses and the community,” Holland said.
Photo: Paul Sherar/©2020 BGEA