A team of seven aid workers from Israeli humanitarian aid organization IsraAID are working in evacuation centers in California after the worst series of blazes in the state’s history.

Since the fires broke out almost a week ago, 40 people have been killed, 5,700 homes and businesses destroyed, and 100,000 people evacuated throughout the Napa Valley region. Even now, firefighters are struggling to control blazes that are racing towards new communities.

The Israeli team began work in Santa Rosa, California last week, and is helping to coordinate and provide relief supplies and stress management to the affected community.

“The situation on the ground is overwhelming and the need for both physical and emotional support is urgent. The loss of lives, houses and the news about Camp Newman are hard to digest,” said Yotam Politzer, co-CEO of IsraAID.

Some 5,700 homes and businesses have been destroyed in the fires. Photo courtesy IsraAID

IsraAID, a non-governmental organization that flies out all over the world to provide both short and long-term help in the wake of disasters, has a team based in the Bay Area of California, which is supported by the Koret Foundation.

They were “able to respond immediately and work side by side with our friends from Congregation Shomrei Torah in Santa Rosa, and our partners from JFCS (who provided much needed mattresses), the SF federation, congregation Rodef Sholom, Temple Emanuel and Kol Shofar to establish a camp for children and families affected by the disaster within Shomrei Torah compound,” said Politzer.

He added that IsraAID plans to monitor the long term needs of those affected by the fires, and provide support during the recovery process.

An IsraAID worker helps out evacuees in California. Photo courtesy of IsraAID

IsraAID has responded to a string of natural disasters in recent months, sending teams to Puerto Rico, Texas, Mexico and Dominica, following the recent floods and earthquake.