Israeli NGO, Jewish org. send aid, emergency team to Haiti following devastating earthquake

IsraAID’s initial response team includes Haitian former staff members from the organization’s eight years of previous work in Haiti.

By Sharon Wrobel, The Algemeiner, World Israel News Staff 

An Israeli non-governmental humanitarian aid agency is sending an emergency team of responders to Haiti, after a devastating hurricane hit the Caribbean island on Saturday.

The Haitian government declared a state of emergency after a 7.2 magnitude earthquake struck, destroying thousands of homes, causing major damage, and leaving more than 700 dead and thousands more injured in the country’s south-west.

“Our thoughts are with the families of the victims of the devastating earthquake in Haiti and we pray for a speedy recovery for all those injured,” Israel’s Foreign Minister Yair Lapid, said Sunday. “Israel stands with Haiti and we will deliver immediate humanitarian support.”

The emergency response team of Israeli NGO, IsraAID will distribute urgently needed relief items and assess immediate needs on the ground, focusing on relief distribution including water, sanitation & hygiene, and psychological first aid and mental health support. According to IsraAID, vulnerable communities recovering from the disaster are now threatened by Tropical Storm Grace, which is expected to bring heavy rains and possible flooding and mudslides on Monday.

“Haitian communities are made up of some of the most resilient people we have worked with and we will stand shoulder-to-shoulder with them for as long as we are needed to build back better,” Yotam Polizer, IsraAID’s CEO, said. “Haiti is one of the most disaster-vulnerable places in the world and communities across the country have been through so much in recent years, from the 2010 earthquake to the 2016 hurricane to the recent political crisis.”

“IsraAID has a long history in Haiti and we are committed to doing what we can to provide urgent support in the midst of this crisis,” Polizer added.

IsraAID’s initial response team includes Haitian former staff members from the organization’s eight years of previous work in Haiti, who will be joined by Israeli and international team members in the coming days.

IsraAID first sent a team to Haiti following the destructive 2010 earthquake, which killed more than 220,000 people. The NGO’s local team also responded to Hurricane Matthew in 2016. Saturday’s earthquake marks the third major disaster that the organization has responded to in the country.

Other initiatives to provide aid to Haiti included shipments of critically needed medical supplies to the overwhelmed hospitals in the country.

The American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC) has provided a hospital in the city of Aquin with surgical instruments, fluids, IV starters, sutures, gloves, masks, face shields and clean linens, JNS reported Monday.

Like IsraAID, the JDC has been operating in Haiti since 2010, assessing emerging needs and raising funds to address them.