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September 11, 2017 3:23 pm

Israeli Aid Teams Dispatched to Florida to Help With Cleanup Following Hurricane Irma

avatar by Shiryn Ghermezian

Flooding and damage caused by Hurricane Irma. Photo: Wikimedia Commons.

Humanitarian aid organizations in Israel sent teams to Florida early this week to help with cleanup efforts following Hurricane Irma, Israel21c reported on Monday.

A team from Israel Rescue Coalition (IRC) and United Hatzalah (UH) arrived in Miami on Sunday and will be joined by four team leaders from the US who will oversee logistics and organizing community response for the groups. Among the volunteers are search and rescue veterans, medical and psychological first-aid responders, diving teams, veteran EMS and natural disaster personnel, as well as a group of UH Psychotrauma and Crisis Response Unit members, according to Israel21c.

Teams from IsraAID will assist primarily in debris cleanup, helping local residents with their homes and offering psychosocial support, and Israel’s ZAKA search and rescue organization has set up two command centers in Miami led by volunteers ready to respond to the local communities. The centers are stocked with generators, sleeping bags, food, water and any necessary equipment for search-and-rescue teams, Israel21c said. More ZAKA volunteers are reportedly on standby in the New York in case their assistance is needed.

“We intend to offer help in the best and most professional way we can, focusing on evacuation of stranded residents and treating the wounded,” said ZAKA International Rescue Unit chief officer Mati Goldstein.

Israeli groups were also on the ground in Texas last week helping with the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey, as well as in some Caribbean islands — to assist those affected by Hurricane Irma — and Mexico — following last week’s 8.1-magnitude earthquake there.

Others involved in the cleanup efforts in Florida include Bal Harbour Mayor Gabriel Groisman, who said in a Facebook Live video on Monday that the city was “on track” to getting electricity and water back on for residents. He added that Bal Harbour and other nearby municipalities were in “total lockdown” and that no one could enter or leave the area because of downed power lines in certain communities and dangerous conditions.

He added, “If you’re in Bal Harbour and don’t have food or electricity, come to The Shul of Bal Harbour. They have enough food for about 500 people…We’ve got water for people, food, ice, anything you need, we’re here for you.”

Groisman also shared exclusive footage with The Algemeiner showing Hurricane Irma ripping through Bal Habour:

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