2014 Year in Pictures
See highlights of our work in 2014 as seen through the lenses of Samaritan’s Purse photographers.
Above: When Typhoon Haiyan slammed into the Philippines on November 8, 2013, it killed more than 6,000 people and displaced 4 million. In the year that followed, Samaritan’s Purse responded by meeting basic needs—health, clean water, food, and shelter—while working with the local churches to meet spiritual needs.
Operation Christmas Child distributed nearly 10 million shoebox gifts in 2014. In many cases, volunteers in the country, like these in Uganda, had to find creative ways to get gifts to previously unreached people groups.
The Greatest Journey is a 12-week discipleship program. Children who receive Operation Christmas Child shoebox gifts are invited to church to learn about faith in Jesus Christ and how to share it with others. More than 1.8 million children participated in the program this year, including these children in Uganda.
Samaritan’s Purse has trained more than 225 midwives and 450 community health volunteers in remote Cambodia, who provide health information to community members. Little Rong Pheara (bottom right) suffered from malnutrition and fell down often because he was so weak. Through this program, his mother, Voeun, learned how to provide better nutrition for her children. Rong is now able to walk and play like a healthy 2-year-old.
A Samaritan's Purse Vietnam staff partner worked with village health workers to identify and treat children in the northern highlands who have symptoms of malnutrition. Pla, a 21-year-old Hmong mother, received nutrition and hygiene training, vegetable seeds for planting, and supplemental food for her baby girl. The little one went from moderate acute malnutrition to a normal weight during a period of six months.
When South Sudanese fled violence last December, many of them found refuge at Kiryandongo Refugee Settlement in Uganda. Every week, Samaritan’s Purse fed 20,000 refugees in the camp. We also fixed wells, built latrines, and provided fishing nets for internally displaced South Sudanese.
Samaritan’s Purse was invited to assist with clean-up and recovery efforts in Sussex, New Brunswick flood victims this spring. We also responded to help with the flood relief efforts in Melville, Saskatchewan and Burlington, Ontario. As is the case for all our Canadian disaster responses, we partnered with chaplains from the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association to help meet the emotional needs of flood survivors and volunteers.
The Tana River Valley of Kenya is a dry and desolate region where rain falls just twice a year. But in Kumbi village, community members have harnessed the power of the intense desert sun to power a water pump.
Samaritan’s Purse supported six months of training for traditional birth attendants in Lai Chau, the second poorest province in Vietnam. As community midwives, these women will be on the frontlines of providing prenatal care and more to mothers and their children, many of whom have limited access to health care.
A little more than year ago, only 25 percent of a parish in eastern Uganda had access to clean water. Now that Samaritan’s Purse is helping the communities build shallow wells, water coverage is at more than 50 percent. “I have been praying so hard,” said Elizabeth Nynjura, an elderly woman whose only water source was difficult to reach and muddy. “I think God has answered my prayers with what I had never thought of in my lifetime.”
Jeremiah C. Sulunteh, Liberia’s Ambassador to the United States, named Samaritan’s Purse President Franklin Graham an honorary citizen of Liberia. On October 1 in Charlotte, North Carolina, Graham and Sulunteh celebrated the first of two major airlifts of relief supplies to help fight Ebola in West Africa.
Samaritan’s Purse airlifted nearly 200 tons of relief supplies to Liberia this fall to help the country combat the current Ebola outbreak. Our staff is now educating and training Liberians to stop the spread of this disease, which has claimed more than 8,000 lives in West Africa.
Samaritan’s Purse has had a country office in Liberia for more than a decade, so we were well positioned to mount a massive response to the deadliest Ebola outbreak in recorded history. We currently have personnel ready to respond to outbreaks in two rural counties, manage a Community Care Center, and have distributed more than 20,000 infection prevention and control kits. In addition, through various media and events, we have helped educate more than 1 million people about the disease.
A Samaritan’s Purse staff member wearing personal protective equipment is sprayed with chlorine at our Case Management Center in Foya, Lofa County, Liberia. In July, our team was providing direct patient care to Ebola victims there.
In August, Dr. Kent Brantly was released from the isolation unit of Emory University Hospital after miraculously recovered from the deadly Ebola virus. His welcoming line of the doctors and nurses who treated him was the first human contact he had since contracting the disease while working with Samaritan’s Purse to care for patients in Liberia. “Today is a miraculous day,” Dr. Brantly said at a news conference at the hospital. “I am thrilled to be alive, to be well and to be reunited with my family. … Above all, I am forever thankful to God for sparing my life and am glad for any attention my sickness has attracted for the plight of West Africa in the midst of this epidemic.”
Our international medical team provided 56 surgeries to cleft-lip and cleft-palate patients this November in South Sudan. Dr. Jim Wade of Abingdon, Virginia, performed many of the operations and here stands with 6-month-old Ruman and his mother Charity.
Our partner chaplains pray with a recovering cleft-lip surgery patient in Juba, South Sudan. The 11-year-old boy formerly named “Machiek,” which means deformed, was given the new name John. Those born with a cleft lip in South Sudan are often ostracized, so when their smiles are fixed it can be life altering—allowing them to go to school and integrate into society.
Shelter was a critical need in the aftermath of Typhoon Haiyan. Throughout 2014, Samaritan’s Purse continued to help residents recover. We supplied kits that included reinforced plastic, hardware, and tools to more than 16,000 families. Jobs to move and load the wood for the shelters were created through our cash-for-work program. Before receiving the materials, beneficiaries attended training sessions, where engineers taught building techniques to make houses stronger and more prepared to stand up to future storms.
Without proper hygiene and sanitation practices, disease can run rampant after a catastrophic storm. Samaritan's Purse hired local workers to build 10,000 household latrines for victims of Typhoon Haiyan.
In December, Samaritan’s Purse airlifted 60,000 Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes to children who have suffered tremendous loss. “It’s my prayer that this plane and the gifts that it carries will be used to bring hope to people who have very little hope,” said Samaritan’s Purse President Franklin Graham. “It will bring love to people who haven’t experienced very much love. And it’s my prayer, more than anything else, that every child will come to know there is a God, that God does loves them and does care for them, and that He sent His Son from heaven to this earth for us.”
A Samaritan’s Purse staff member gives a new winter coat to an Iraqi girl displaced by ISIS. Through an 80-ton airlift in mid-October and other efforts, Samaritan’s Purse provided winterization items to tens of thousands of Iraqis fleeing jihadi violence this year.
A displaced Yazidi boy shows off all the treasures in his Operation Christmas Child shoebox at his home in an abandoned chicken farm. Samaritan’s Purse airlifted 60,000 shoeboxes to children in Iraq who have been displaced by ISIS violence.