LIHUE — Disaster recovery on Kauai is making progress with the help of good Samaritans.
Samaritan’s Purse, a North Carolina-based Christian relief organization, on Wednesday landed at Lihue Airport with supplies and disaster specialists on the organization’s DC-8 cargo plane that departed from Greensboro.
“We come with lots of equipment, lots of tools and big hearts to serve,” said Evangeline Yacuk of Waikiki, who was among Samaritan’s Purse volunteers from several states. She has volunteered with the organization on the Mainland for floods, tornadoes and hurricanes since 2009.
“We’re here to unload the plane and bring all these supplies to help the communities on the North Shore,” Yacuk said.
The nearly 70 tons of materials includes tarps, generators and chain saws.
Supplies were transferred by volunteers to trucks and then all-terrain vehicles to reach areas still inaccessible by road.
“We’re family, it’s ohana and we need to look out for each other,” said Pastor Steve Rex of Calvary Chapel North Shore in Kilauea. “The beauty is all of them coming together and working together with so much aloha. It’s amazing.”
U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard provided words of encouragement during the arrival after she was done assisting with recovery efforts in Wainiha.
She was the one who informed Samaritan’s Purse President Franklin Graham of the devastation, who traveled to Kauai to see firsthand how the organization could help.
“I’ve seen the tremendous amount of damage that families in Kauai are facing after torrential rain flooded hundreds of homes, triggered mudslides and washed out roads,” said Graham. “We are here to share the love of Jesus Christ with families in need by helping them physically recover and reminding them that they are not alone.”
Graham and chaplains from the ministry’s Rapid Response Team worked alongside Samaritan’s Purse and the volunteers to provide emotional and spiritual encouragement.
“We’ve got three 20-foot containers we’re filling up and bringing to Hanalei,” Rex said. “We’re gonna start tearing out the walls and de-molding, rebuilding and dry-walling, just blessing the people and taking care of them. We’ve been getting food and supplies in there, medical and tools, and stuff for the past two weeks.”
Samaritan’s Purse is an international Christian relief organization that has helped more than 40,000 families in 35 U.S. states following hurricanes, tornadoes, floods, fires and ice storms.
“Whether it’s a hurricane, a flood, a fire, a tornado, whatever the disaster is, we want to run to it,” said Samaritan’s Purse Vice President Luther Harrison. “We will not forget Hawaii.”
John Steinhorst, reporter, can be reached at 245-0435 or firstname.lastname@example.org.