Charlotte, N.C. (February 11, 2020)
A team of Billy Graham Rapid Response Team (RRT) chaplains will head to Puerto Rico on Sunday as a string of deadly earthquakes and aftershocks continue to shake the island.
The U.S. Geological Survey shows that there have been at least 229 earthquakes of magnitude 2.5 or higher that have hit Puerto Rico in the last week alone, with more than 1,500 earthquakes since the end of December. The strongest on record was a magnitude 6.4 earthquake, which occurred Jan. 7 and caused at least one death and left countless others without water or power.
“As the earthquakes and aftershocks continue, people in Puerto Rico are living in constant anxiety, and fear about what might happen next. We are sending a team of Spanish-speaking, crisis-trained chaplains to the island to provide emotional and spiritual care during this time,” said Josh Holland, assistant director of the RRT. “Psalm 46 says, ‘God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear though the earth gives way.’ As the earth is literally trembling on a daily basis in Puerto Rico, we pray that people will recognize their need for Christ, who is the rock, and know His love for them.”
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has issued a Major Disaster Declaration for 25 counties, accounting for nearly one-third of the island.
The deployment to Puerto Rico comes on the heels of a Sharing Hope in Crisis seminar that the RRT held on the island Saturday, Feb. 1. Nearly 600 people attended the eight-hour training intended to help prepare them for ministry in times of crisis.