Israeli aid teams join relief efforts in Japan and Ecuador

By April 21 2016, 11:22 Latest News No Comments

Japan IsraaidIsraeli relief volunteers joined the rescue efforts in Japan and Ecuador following devastating earthquakes last week that have resulted in hundreds of deaths and widespread damage.

Israeli humanitarian aid organisation IsraAID said that its delegation in southern Japan,  Japan IsraAID Support Programme (JISP), is helping to distribute much-needed supplies in the affected communities. Some 180,000 people are in temporary shelters after two powerful earthquakes rocked Japan on Thursday and Friday causing huge damage to roads, bridges and tunnels. The tremors also caused dangerous landslides. Japanese media reports say more than 62,000 homes remain without electricity and 300,000 homes have no water.

IsraAID also sent a 15-person search-and-rescue team to Ecuador, as well as a team of medical professionals, to help in the aftermath of the 7.8 magnitude earthquake that struck on April 16. The death toll from Saturday’s earthquake – the worst to hit Ecuador in decades – has risen to 525.

IsraAID’s delegation in southern Japan is the only foreign organisation still on the ground after arriving in March 2011 to provide assistance in the wake of the devastating tsunami that year. Due to this, the NGO’s volunteers and workers were able to arrive already on Sunday in the worst affected area in Kumamoto city to offer emergency assistance.

Yotam Polizer, IsraAID’s Asia Director said: “The devastation is beyond words and tens of thousands of people are taking shelter in the more than 600 evacuation centre”.

IsraAID reports that “most of the stores are empty of food, water and non food items. IsraAID/JISP team is filling in the gaps and distributing much needed supplies to those affected”.

IsraAID and JISP are also providing psychological first aid to the victims who are suffering from stress and anxiety. The humanitarian workers have opened child-care spaces in the affected area.

IsraAID’s COO Navonel Glick said: “The extensive experience we have gained in previous earthquakes, such as Haiti, Japan, the tsunami in Eastern Asia, Turkey and Nepal teaches us that the first days are the most critical for the population”.

Since its founding in 2001, IsraAID’s teams of professional medics, search and rescue squads, post-trauma experts and community mobilisers, have attended and provided assistance to almost every major humanitarian response in the 21st century.

IsraAid is an umbrella organisation for Israeli and Jewish groups offering humanitarian aid in disaster-struck areas. It has sent teams to locations around the world, including Sri Lanka, Peru, Nepal, South Sudan, the Phillipines and Haiti.

The NGO has a dedicated team in Greece providing medical support and psychological assistance to Syrian refugees and volunteers recently travelled to the Serbian border with Hungary to distribute supplies.

A number of Israeli volunteers, sent by IsraAID, arrived in Britain in January 2016 to help repair homes and distribute food and blankets in the north of England following Storm Desmond, which caused flash flooding.

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