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July 19, 2021 2:02 pm
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Israeli NGO Sends Aid Team to Help With Catastrophic Floods in Western Germany

avatar by Sharon Wrobel

People work in an area affected by floods caused by heavy rainfalls in Bad Muenstereifel, Germany, July 19, 2021. REUTERS/Wolfgang Rattay

An Israeli non-governmental humanitarian aid agency is sending a local team, including international staff and refugee leaders, to provide aid relief to the areas affected by the devastating floods in western Germany.

IsraAID’s team which is set to arrive to the affected areas on Monday will first conduct an assessment of urgent needs in affected communities and provide support with relief distributions, psychological first aid, and clean-up efforts. IsraAID has partnered with the Central Board of Jewish Welfare in Germany (ZWST).

“IsraAID has had a team in Germany for six years, working with refugee communities across the country. As the full impact of the floods became clear over the last few days, it was important to our team and — particularly — to the young refugee leaders we work with, to do what we can to support affected communities as they pick up the pieces,” Yotam Polizer, IsraAID CEO told The Algemeiner.

“We hope that, in addition to meeting urgent community needs and in the face of such tragedy, our joint response, bringing together refugees, Germans, Jews, Israelis and international team members, can provide a small message of IsraAID in difficult times,” Polizer added.

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At least 160 people have died in the German states of North Rhine-Westphalia and Rhineland-Palatinate, with dozens still reported missing and major damage inflicted to homes and infrastructure. In recent years, IsraAID has responded to major flooding in many parts of the world, including in Mozambique after Cyclone Eloise this year, Guatemala after Tropical Storm Eta in 2020, India during the 2018 Kerala Floods, and in the UK following the 2016 floods in northern England.

Meanwhile, Israel’s Prime Minister Naftali Bennett offered the country’s assistance to Germany and announced that Israel is ready to provide any help that is needed.

“To our friends in Germany and Belgium who are currently experiencing an unbearable natural disaster: On behalf of the government and citizens of Israel, I would like to convey our condolences to the loss of life and the widespread devastation,” Bennett said.

Over the weekend, Israeli President Isaac Herzog sent a letter of condolences and sympathy to his German counterpart Frank Walter Steinmeier and the German people.

“I agree with the President of Germany, that the challenge of global warming, which contributed to this calamity, requires us all to make a special effort. I stated that we would be willing to help in any way,” Herzog said.

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