Samaritan’s Purse Had to Pull Out Before Maria

Samaritan’s Purse had a base set up in San Juan, Puerto Rico, in anticipation of Hurricane Maria, but had to close it down because of the fierceness of the worst storm to hit the U.S. island territory in more than 80 years, the charity’s leader, Rev. Franklin Graham, said Thursday.

“We still had people there, but we had to pull out airplanes and release supplies,” Graham told Fox News’ “Fox & Friends” program. “We should be going back in late tonight, hopefully we go back in tomorrow.”

Graham noted that the group had already been working with those affected by Hurricanes Irma and Harvey, and have several large-scale items to move in for Maria.

“We’ve got 1,000 generators that were taken in; we’ve ordered another 1,000,” said Graham. “We’ve got plastic tarps. These are heavy duty tarps that if the person lost their roof, they can put that on, and it will keep them in the dry. It’s not a permanent fix, but it’s a temporary solution. We’ve got people there, we’re just waiting for the airport to open.”

Graham, the son of legendary evangelist Billy Graham, said Samaritan’s Purse has a large church connection with Puerto Rico, and he preached there earlier this year.

“We had a large meeting with hundreds of churches involved, so we have a network of pastors and churches that we work through,” said Graham. “That’s how we distribute in the community. The local church knows better than anyone where else the needs are. Where the elderly are, where the people that have lost everything are living, so we work with the churches.”

Graham on Thursday also praised President Donald Trump for his blunt speech to the United Nations on Tuesday, saying it showed his strong leadership for the United States.

“I work all over the world and Samaritan’s Purse is in 110 countries, and we see what takes place,” said Graham. “For the last ten years, we have not had strong leadership in this country, and as a result, nations take advantage of that, and we’ve seen America not only lose in the Middle East, but around the world.”

Trump, though, is willing to stand up, and he was right when he said evil will triumph if the righteous do not stand up to the “wicked few,” said Graham.

“He called out North Korea, he called out the Iranians, he called out Venezuela, and he challenged the UN to raise to a higher standard,” Graham said. “I appreciate that. He’s not afraid of the criticisms that the left socialists are going to throw at him. He just says it the way it is. He’s not a politician. That’s what I like about him.”

Graham continued that he has found Trump to be “straightforward, very direct and extremely honest and transparent.”

“Politicians are always looking to see where the wind blows where the votes are,” said Graham. “He doesn’t care about that stuff. He’s just going to tell you the truth.”

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