Rev. Franklin Graham speaks during Franklin Graham's "Decision America" California tour at the Stanislaus County Fairgrounds on May 29, 2018 in Turlock, California.
Justin Sullivan—Getty Images
March 18, 2020

A Christian evangelical group headed by the son of the late televangelist Billy Graham has sent a field hospital to northern Italy to tend to coronavirus patients, joining China in offering aid to Italy’s overwhelmed health care system.

The Defense Ministry said a DC8 belonging to Samaritan’s Purse landed at the Verona airport late Tuesday. The group says it sent a 68-bed field hospital, including eight intensive care beds, 20 tons of medical equipment and 32 specialists. The hospital is to be set up for three months in hard-hit Cremona province of northern Lombardy.

Samaritan’s Purse is headed by the pastor Franklin Graham, one of President Donald Trump’s evangelical allies. Critics have accused Samaritan’s Church of proselytizing through its aid but the group says its aid is provided regardless of religious affiliation.

Aid groups say Italy has a severe shortage of the medical equipment needed to properly fight the coronavirus.

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