Samaritan's Purse to help Slave Lake fire victims

Christian organization will provide disaster clean-up assistance

CALGARY, May 20, 2011 /CNW/ - Samaritan's Purse Canada is deploying its Disaster Relief Unit to Slave Lake, AB, as part of the Christian relief organization's efforts to help victims of massive forest fires that have destroyed more than 400 homes, government buildings and businesses, while also damaging many others.

The Disaster Relief Unit - a specially equipped tractor trailer and truck - will arrive in Slave Lake on Saturday or early Sunday. It will serve as the focal point for Samaritan's Purse staff and volunteers as they engage in a variety of clean-up and support roles to help local residents, including many evacuees who will be returning to find their homes and all of their belongings completely incinerated.

"Our goal is to help the people of Slave Lake as they face the physical and emotional challenges of rebuilding their community," said Brent Davis, coordinator of domestic disaster relief for Samaritan's Purse, which is working in partnership with emergency response specialists from the Alberta government and the town, as well as with local churches and other relief organizations.

"Samaritan's Purse can provide a significant amount of help to the community and our church is looking forward to partnering with them," said Pastor Tracy Ottenbreit of the Slave Lake Alliance Church. "We will also cooperate with other churches in the area to offer assistance to residents."

The Disaster Relief Unit is outfitted with essential disaster recovery equipment including electricity generators, pumps, hand tools, and safety gear for volunteers. It is equipped with a self-contained office, communications system, and other supplies. The unit - and another based in Moncton, NB - has helped Samaritan's Purse respond to natural disasters all across Canada in recent years. The Moncton-based unit is being prepared for deployment to southern Quebec to help residents recover from recent severe flooding.

In anticipation of when Slave Lake evacuated residents receive approval to return to their stricken community, Samaritan's Purse will also work alongside the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association of Canada and its trained volunteer chaplains as they offer crisis counseling and spiritual support.

Donations Needed
Anyone wishing to donate to Samaritan's Purse's disaster relief efforts can call 1-800-663-6500 or visit www.samaritanspurse.ca (click on "Donate").

About Samaritan's Purse Canada
Samaritan's Purse Canada is an international Christian relief and development organization working in about 70 countries to provide aid to victims of war, disease, disaster, poverty, famine, and persecution. The Calgary-based charity also operates the well-known Operation Christmas Child program that sends gift-filled shoe boxes to needy children around the world each year, and the Turn on the Tap initiative that raises funds for life-saving BioSand Water Filters the developing world. Go to www.samaritanspurse.ca for more information.

SOURCE Samaritan's Purse Canada

For further information:

Media Inquiries:
Jeff Adams
Director, Communications and Creative Services Dept.
Samaritan's Purse Canada and Billy Graham Evangelistic Association of Canada
1-800-663-6500 or 1-403-615-8747 (cell)
jadams@samaritan.ca


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