UK flood victims gratefully receive support from Israeli aid group
Israeli aid group IsraAID was welcomed with open arms on Monday in storm battered Leeds as heavy rain and strong winds continue to inflict damage on communities across the UK and Ireland. The volunteers are there to survey the damage and assist in repairs to buildings, as well as distribute food and blankets where needed. Another team is en route to the northern UK to help map the situation.
IsraAID is no stranger to this kind of work; it has provided emergency relief for victims of natural disasters across the world, including in Japan after the 2011 earthquake and tsunami; the Philippines after typhoon Haiyan; Haiti after the earthquake in 2010; in the USA following hurricane Katrina, superstorm Sandy, and other major disasters; and more recently in Nepal after the earthquake in 2015.
It doesn’t stop with emergency aid either; IsraAid has many long-term projects worldwide which aim to provide the tools to help locals resume normal lives and deal with the traumas they have experienced. For example, after fighting the ebola epidemic in Sierra Leone, IsraAid has a team of experts training healthcare workers to deal with the psycho-social after effects, including reducing stigmatization of victims and helping families deal with loss. This program has been put to effective use in many other countries as well.
As is usually the case with Israeli humanitarian workers, people come before politics; IsraAID is currently helping Syrian refugees in Jordan and Somalian refugees in Kenya, despite the hostility from both Syrians and Somalians toward Israel. Israelis saw people in need and came to help.
We have responded to 10 floods and tornado disasters in the US and when we saw what was happening to the UK in the news it looked worse than ever before. We wanted to show the community we would be there for them.
— Shachar Zahavi, founding director of IsraAid
So as Britain weathers the latest storm with the support of our Israeli friends, we know we are that much stronger.