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Billy Graham Rapid Response Team Chaplains Enter Fort McMurray, Prepare for Return of Residents into Fire-Devastated Community

Contact: Erik Ogren, 704-401-2117, eogren@bgea.org 

CHARLOTTE, N.C., May 31, 2016 /Standard Newswire/ -- Crisis-trained chaplains with the Billy Graham Rapid Response Team have deployed to fire-ravaged Fort McMurray, Alberta, Canada, and are ministering to first responders and utility workers as they endeavor to restore critical functions in the city.

The chaplains will maintain a presence in Fort McMurray as residents begin returning to the area on June 1. Many will be seeing what is left of their homes for the first time since hastily evacuating in the face of the enormous wildfire in early May.

It is reported that the fire has now burned more than 566,000 hectares (more than 1.4 million acres) across the provinces of Alberta and Saskatchewan.

Jack Munday, the international director of the Billy Graham Rapid Response Team, said, "The devastation caused by the Fort McMurray fire has resulted in more suffering than we can imagine. As the residents return, we need to pray for God's hope and comfort as they face intense grief in their loss."

Munday continued, "Our chaplains have been in the area for several days. We will continue to be there to offer emotional and spiritual care to those who have been working long, brutal days to get the city back up and running, and for those who are returning home to find that their whole world has changed."

Billy Graham Rapid Response Team chaplains from Canada and the United States are partnering in the effort. The group has deployed in coordination with Samaritan's Purse, the Christian disaster relief organization also headed by Franklin Graham. Together the two ministries will address the physical, emotional and spiritual needs of those who have been affected.

In addition to the work in Fort McMurray, the Billy Graham Rapid Response Team currently has chaplains in Ecuador (earthquake) and West Monroe, La. (flooding). They recently completed ministry efforts in the Houston, Texas, area (flooding).

For more information on the ministry, including videos, photos, news articles and an interactive map of former and current deployments, visit www.billygraham.org/rrt. Updates can also be found at www.facebook.com/RRTChaplains.

About the Billy Graham Rapid Response Team:
The Billy Graham Rapid Response Team was developed by Franklin Graham and the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association following the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. It has since grown into a nationwide network of chaplains in 48 states who are specifically trained to deal with crisis situations. They have deployed to more than 215 disaster sites, including shootings, floods, hurricanes, wildfires and tornadoes.