Following the large-scale damage caused by Hurricane Florence in North Carolina in September, IsraAid is on the scene.
A six-person emergency response team was sent from Israel on Sept. 30, followed by a second team of six that is assisting in home recovery and debris removal, and assessing long-term needs.
Since 2001, IsraAid has deployed all over the world, helping in cases of extreme crisis. Their first deployment in the United States came in 2005 after Hurricane Katrina, when the response in Louisiana included elite search and rescue divers, doctors and nurses, trauma specialists and relief workers.
The North Carolina deployment is in collaboration with Team Rubicon in California, and they plan to coordinate additional volunteers from North American Jewish communities.
After the initial emergency period, IsraAID transitions to long-term programming, with the aim of accompanying communities on the journey towards a better, sustainable future. There are still teams on the ground in Houston and Puerto Rico, one year after Hurricanes Harvey and Maria.
Some of the North Carolina team came over from Houston.
The hurricane is just part of a busy month for the agency. A team responded to Typhoon Mangkhut in the Philippines, where they had already been following Typhoon Yolanda in 2013. A team also deployed to Indonesia following an earthquake and tsunami there. Other current deployments include Dominica and India.
IsraAid has a network of about 1500 volunteers that can respond at any given time. Adding to that, this year, the IsraAid Humanitarian Aid Fellowship for U.S. college students included 14 Fellows who were deployed to eight different countries on IsraAid projects.
Yotam Polizer and Voni Glick, IsraAID co-CEOs, said “We are praying for the people of the Carolinas and are ready to provide help and assistance for as long as we are needed.”