Hundreds reportedly signed-up to the global humanitarian organization Samaritan's Purse International Disaster Relief to lend a helping hand to flooding victims in Germany where more than 100 people died due to heavy rainfall last July 14.
The Christian Post reported that Samaritan's Purse, a Christian organization headed by evangelist Franklin Graham, have sent 350 volunteers to partner with a local church in Germany to bring needed support to victims of flooding last week.
The Christian Post said that over 177 people have died due to the unprecented rainfall that caused the Ahrweiler region's Ahr River to overflow as muddy rainwater into nearby towns. Most of the victims drowned to death as the district was a valley surrounded by steep hills mostly of vineyards and forced the water to pile and rise up.
Samaritan's Purse has organized the volunteers and deployed specialists from 14 international disaster response offices to support their affiliate in Germany immediately the day after the flood reached the states of Rhineland-Paltine and North Rhine-Westphalia. The organization also partnered with Cologne's Evangelische Freikirche Koeln Ostheim church to support the spiritual, physical, and emotional needs of the victims through the aid of thousands of volunteers.
Centuries-old homes and family-run businesses were destroyed by mud water that rose up to six feet across the villages of Ahrweiler before it escaped into the states of Rhineland-Paltine and North Rhine-Westphalia. Most of the homes now are undergoing the removal of the mud "bucket by bucket" that was left by the water, a process of rehabilitation that is expected to take a long period of time.
One of Samaritan's Purse disaster relief specialist Nick Bechert relayed to The Christian Post that there is difficulty in the rehabilitation since the mud was "slippery" and how everyone in the villages was really taken in surprise by the floods leading to the loss of many lives.
He also shared that his passion for helping people is giving him the strength he needs in the support they are giving the community. The 35-year-old Bechert was a volunteer for Samaritan's Purse since he was a sophomore at the Indiana University following 2005's Hurricane Katrina.
"There were untouched piles of debris all over entire streets...and much of the towns were filled with a thick, slippery mud," Bechert revealed.
"It was hard to hear stories of how fast the water came through, how there was no time to prepare for it, leading to the loss of life and increased property damage," he added. "When you are away from your comfort zone and focused on the work God has prepared for you, you will learn, grow and see amazing things."
"Helping often leads to great opportunities to share why you are there and provide hope that goes beyond the physical support. I believe that God calls us to help our neighbor--no matter where in the world that neighbor may be. Right now, they happen to be in Germany after a flood. A major component of this response [effort in Germany] has been facilitating hundreds of Christians from all over Germany to be present and supportive, working in homes along with families and individuals working to rebuild their lives," he stressed.
As per Samaritan's Purse, the "catastrophic flooding" in Germany has become an opportunity to "serve in Jesus' name" for many volunteers. The organization highlighted the Esther Giller who is a volunteer of Samaritan's Purse Germany together with her husband, Christian. The couple "knew" they had to help out even if it had to bee on the one day they get "off from work and normal responsibilities."
Giller told Samaritan's Purse that they want to "be a light in these dark cellars" pertaining to the houses that were destroyed and filled with mud in the aim of giving the victims hope.
"It's so much dirt. You just feel with the people because you see photo albums and private things on the street and, it's just, you are just sad with them. We want to be a light in these dark cellars. I think this is the main purpose here to just spread hope in moments where there is no hope," Giller said.