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Originally published: 2014-06-19 15:43:39
Last modified: 2014-06-19 15:45:01

Samaritan's Purse deploys disaster relief team to Nebraska

Less than 24 hours after two tornadoes touched down in Northeast Nebraska, international Christian relief organization Samaritan's Purse based in Boone deployed disaster relief experts from its headquarters in North Carolina to help storm victims with cleanup efforts. 

A Disaster Relief Unit, stocked with chain saws, heavy-duty plastic tarps, generators and other tools and supplies, left Tuesday to set up operations in the hard-hit town of Pilger, Neb.

"The reports we've received about yesterday's storms are devastating," said Franklin Graham, president of Samaritan's Purse. "This community lost everything, including their town's business district and fire station. We will be there for as long as it takes to support them and help them begin rebuilding their lives."

When Samaritan's Purse staff arrives in Pilger, they will work with local emergency officials and local churches to determine where help is most needed. Relief efforts will focus on cleaning up debris, cutting fallen trees, salvaging personal belongings and putting tarps on damaged roofs.

Volunteers are critical in an emergency response like this, according to Samaritan's Purse officials. To volunteer with Samaritan's Purse, go to spvolunteernetwork.org. Donations to help tornado victims can be made at samaritanspurse.org.

A team of chaplains from the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association's Rapid Response Team is also deploying to Nebraska and will work alongside Samaritan's Purse to minister to victims and their families. 

Samaritan's Purse is an international Christian relief and evangelism organization that has helped more than 28,000 families in 31 U.S. states following hurricanes, tornadoes, floods, fires and ice storms. 

In April and May 2014, Samaritan's Purse provided aid to victims impacted by tornados that swept through central and southern U.S., including Mayflower and Vilonia, Ark.; Louisville, Miss.; Baxter Springs, Kan.; and Athens, Alab. 

The organization is also currently on the ground helping flood victims in Pensacola, Fla.