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'People Are Dying': Samaritan's Purse Sets up Emergency Field Hospital in New York City

Building nears 51st Street and 7th Avenue in New York June 10, 2019 (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)
Building nears 51st Street and 7th Avenue in New York June 10, 2019 (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)

The international Christian humanitarian organization, Samaritan's Purse, led by Franklin Graham, deployed its Emergency Field Hospital to New York City Saturday, the epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak in the US.

Samaritan's Purse will open a 68-bed field hospital that is specifically equipped to serve as a respiratory care unit.

"People are dying from the coronavirus, hospitals are out of beds, and the medical staff are overwhelmed," said Graham, president of Samaritan's Purse, in a statement. "We are deploying our Emergency Field Hospital to New York to help carry this burden."

"This is what Samaritan's Purse does – we respond in the middle of crises to help people in Jesus' Name," he continued. "Please pray for our teams and for everyone around the world affected by the virus."

The US now has the biggest outbreak of COVID-19, with close to half of the cases in New York state, the organization reports in a news release.

The Emergency Field Hospital is traveling from North Carolina on four Samaritan's Purse tractor-trailers.

It will be built and operational in around 48 hours, once in place in New York. Doctors, nurses, lab technicians, water and sanitation experts, and other support staff will serve on-site.

The medical infrastructure in New York is greatly overwhelmed, Samaritan's Purse reports. The organization is working with the Federal Emergency Management Agency, New York state officials and local hospital leaders.

One week ago, Samaritan's Purse opened an identical unit in Cremona, Italy. Just one day after opening that hospital, the organization reports the Intensive Care Unit was full.

To make sure teams are taking the proper precautions in both the US and Italy, Samaritan's Purse infectious disease experts have been working with the World Health Organization and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The humanitarian organization is based in Boone, North Carolina, and reaches out to those in crisis situations, responding to both physical and spiritual needs.

Brock Kreitzburg, who is managing the response from Samaritan’s Purse international headquarters, said the hope of Jesus Christ is what drives the group to serve those in need.

“We have hope in Jesus Christ. And so when we go there we are meeting the physical needs of course, but we’re also sharing the hope of Christ. And that’s ultimately what drives what we’re doing whether it’s a hurricane, or an earthquake, or ebola or the coronavirus. Sharing the hope of Christ is what drives us," Kreitzburg said.

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