Israeli aid group sends emergency experts to flood-ravaged Texas

August 31, 2017 by J-Wire
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IsraAID, an Israeli international humanitarian organization, says it’s sending a team of experts from Israel and the U.S. to assist Texas residents dealing with the after effects of Tropical Storm Harvey.

Texas National Guard members help rescue flooded Texans post Tropical Storm Harvey. Credit: Texas Gov. Greg Abbott via Twitter.

IsraAID, which is coordinating with local Jewish communities, local government in Texas and the Israeli Consul General, plans to deploy 5-7 experts to provide two-stage response to the disaster, with the first stage focusing on removing debris and cleaning homes, then offering psychosocial trauma support to residents.

“In crises with large-scale destruction, national and international aid efforts typically focus on practical, physical support, with limited resources allocated to the mental and emotional rehabilitation of affected populations,” said Yotam Polizer, co-CEO of IsraAID.

“For the most vulnerable groups, notably children and the elderly, time is of critical importance; the longer these groups are forced to remain in shelters, the higher the chance of long-term mental health problems such as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), a disorder that can have a debilitating and long-term impact.”

Meanwhile, the American Jewish Committee announced a $34,000 grant of aid to the victims of flooding in Texas. This grant will be provided to the American Red Cross, IsraAID and the Jewish Family Service of Houston.

From other sources:

Congregation Beth Israel: The news here is more problematic.

On Facebook, they report that “maintenance staff was able to get into the building last night, and we discovered that water flooded into the Sanctuary. The water around the building was too high, our power went out, and our pump system was overwhelmed. It was just too much. Fortunately, we prepared for this and removed what could be removed from the Sanctuary before the hurricane to minimize any damage. In addition, our basement containing all of the mechanical equipment to the building and maintenance offices all filled with water as well, which hadn’t ever happened before.

“We have not thoroughly assessed the rest of our campus, so we can’t determine the extent of any further damage. Despite these challenges, our building was able to be used as a temporary shelter and evacuation site by the Houston Fire Department. Members of HFD were joined by California Rescue, a team of volunteer firefighters who came in to provide rescue services. Dozens of stranded neighbors were able to access the building, and we were glad the building could be used to provide temporary relief and comfort to others. We have alerted the restoration company and our general contractor to be ready to start removing water and making repairs when possible. We hope that each of you is safe, and if you have evacuated your homes or experienced flooding, we look forward to being available to you in the coming days and weeks to help, provide support, services, and food. We pray for our community and are ready to help as soon as we can.”

Congregation B’nai Israel: From Galveston, Rabbi Marshall Klaven reports:

“From what I have been able to gather about our Congregants from phone calls, text messages and Facebook – when I do have power (which has been out for days at a time) – is that a couple have been flooded out of their homes, many have evacuated and do not yet know about their homes, and others have – like my wife and I – sheltered in place and dealing with the challenges.

“During one of the brief breaks in the storm, I was able to go over to our Temple and it does have at least three major leaks. But, overall, the building is intact and will be useable – we pray – for both community and congregational needs once the storm’s immediate threats diminish. We pray that will be tomorrow, so we can start touching base with all our congregants as well as city/county officials to see what the needs may be.”

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