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World News

Billy Graham teams deployed to Uvalde after worst school shooting in a decade

by Sophie Drew

The Billy Graham Rapid Response Team has been deployed to Uvalde following the most devastating school shooting in a decade. 

Chaplains from the organisation will be ministering to the families of the victims and the surrounding community. 

The shooting saw 19 children and two teachers killed at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas. 

Two police officers were also injured in the attack. 

The perpetrator - 18 year old Salvador Ramos - was shot by police after they failed to engage with him. 

Manager of the Rapid Response team and Assistant Head of Ministry for the Billy Graham Evangelical Association Nigel Fawcett told Premier how they are comforting friends and family of the victims at this time: "The rapid response team used local chaplains that live in the area to respond and they were on scene within the first two hours following the tragedy that developed in the town. 

"Our initial response is always to bring a ministry of presence and a purposeful presence and to work alongside the local church in supporting the needs of those devastated families and the community in Uvalde. 

"The chaplains will stay as long as there is a need if the church feel as though they need support in walking alongside the community. 

"Often we find in these smaller towns and cities, many of the local people have been impacted as well and that includes churches and church leadership. 

"We find it really helpful to stand alongside the local church, and to bring that additional support that they may need in responding to the community, that could be a week, it could be two weeks, it could be longer."

Fawcett has asked people to pray for all the friends and family of the victims and all communities affected, he said: "I know that the Christian community across the UK will be praying, it's an important role to pray for the parents, for the community leaders and indeed the first responders who may be from their own community as well."

Crisis teams - which were developed by the Franklin Graham and the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association following the 9/11 attacks - continue to work in Ukraine and Poland, delivering humanitarian aid and establishing field hospitals. 

Elsewhere, teams are helping to rebuild areas of Brookings, in South Dakota, following devastation caused by a storm. 

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