Following the devastating floods that recently hit communities in western Germany, Israeli humanitarian aid NGO IsraAID sent out a response team to help with relief distribution, clean-up efforts and psychological first aid.
The floods, which hit Germany earlier in July, have left at least 160 dead in the states of North Rhine-Westphalia and Rhineland-Palatinate. Dozens of people are still missing, and great damage was caused to property and infrastructure. Many more people in neighboring Belgium were also killed in the flooding.
The IsraAID delegation includes international staff as well as refugee team members and volunteers from IsraAID Germany, which was started in 2015 to help refugees.
“IsraAID’s emergency response team includes volunteers and staff members from our long-term work supporting refugee integration across the country,” says Ethan Schwartz, IsraAID’s media and communications manager. “Among the volunteers are participants in IsraAID Germany’s Navigators program, which trains young refugees in team-building, leadership skills, and community service.”
Now these refugee leaders have an opportunity to bring hands-on support to flood-affected German communities at their time of greatest need, Schwartz notes.
The organization has partnered up with ZWST, the central welfare organization of the Jewish community in Germany, for the emergency response effort, which is also being supported by the American Jewish Committee and medical device company BD.
Earlier this year, IsraAID responded to flooding following Cyclone Eloise in Mozambique, and last year it launched an emergency response in Guatemala following Tropical Storm Eta that killed more than 150 people and affected another 200,000 in the Central American country.