Chaplains deployed to Hurricane Sandy communities

Chaplains are offering spiritual support in communities affected by Hurricane Sandy.

Billy Graham Rapid Response Teams have been deployed to multiple sites across the disaster zone in the north-eastern US.

More than 40 people were killed by the storm, including 22 in New York alone, and many homes are still without power.

Chaplains are coming from across the US to serve in the Rapid Response Teams, which will be based initially in New Jersey and Philadelphia.

The chaplains are specially trained to deal with crisis situations and had only recently been withdrawn from Louisiana following Hurricane Isaac last year.

Jack Munday, international director of the Billy Graham Rapid Response Team said: "Sadly, it seems that the worst fears were realised and millions of people are now hurting as a result of Hurricane Sandy.

"I'm not sure that there are words that can adequately describe the enormity of this massive disaster.

"We'll do all we can in the face of this catastrophe to offer emotional and spiritual care and the hope and compassion of Jesus Christ."

The Salvation Army is also serving in affected communities. It says it is "prepared for a long-term disaster response and recovery operation".

Food, hydration and clean-up kits are being handed out and mobile canteens have been set.

In New York City, the Salvation Army has been appointed as the lead agency for food provision at the city's emergency shelters.

World Vision is responding with relief kits and assisting clean-up operations.

It was able to continue its emergency relief provision despite around a third of the stock in its New York warehouse being destroyed in the storm.

Tim Reeve, general manager at World Vision’s office in New York said: “[The] loading dock is filled with about four to five feet of water right now.

“The East River, which is at the end of our street, started coming over its bank and the water just flowed into the building. There’s boxes and debris all over the place.”