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December 14, 2021 7:03 am
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Israel Delivers Water Pallets to Tornado-Ravaged Kentucky Communities in Joint Aid Truck With Chabad

avatar by Sharon Wrobel

Aid delivered to communities in Kentucky ravaged by tornadoes, led by Chabad of Kentucky with support from the Israeli government. Photo: Chabad of Kentucky / Twitter screenshot

The Israeli government, Jewish groups and an Israeli non-governmental humanitarian aid agency are stepping up efforts to help communities hit by devastating tornadoes in Kentucky.

Alex Gandler, Deputy Consul General of Israel’s mission to the Southeast in Atlanta, told The Algemeiner that after Prime Minister Naftali Bennett’s pledge on Sunday to “offer any assistance needed,” it was decided to donate pallets of water to those affected by the storms in western Kentucky.

In Kentucky, which bore the brunt of the tornadoes that struck the central US Friday, at least 74 have lost their lives and more than 109 are reported as unaccounted for. The tornadoes destroyed hundreds of houses, leaving many of those who survived homeless, with some 28,000 homes and businesses still without power Tuesday.

“We stand with our friends in Kentucky at this difficult time and will continue to offer any support that we can,” Gandler said in an emailed statement.

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The Consulate General of Israel to the Southeast partnered with Chabad of Kentucky to deliver the water and additional supplies to three locations in Graves County on Monday. Gandler said the Israeli Consulate in Atlanta is also in contact with the Kentucky Governor’s office, the Kentucky Emergency Management and elected officials, to continue to provide support to hard-hit areas as needed.

“Since Shabbat ended and we heard the news of the terrible tornado in western Kentucky, we spent the next 20 hours loading a truck with what is most needed, including winter clothing, blankets and water,” Rabbi Shlomo Litvin of Chabad of the Bluegrass, a branch of Chabad of Kentucky, told The Algemeiner. “The Israeli government, which was one of the first to offer assistance to the state, has sponsored several pallets of water which were loaded on the truck and are being delivered to tornado-hit communities, including Mayfield.”

“Seeing the devastation in communities I know so well was heartbreaking, but the Kentucky resolve I know so well was evident,” Rabbi Litvin recounted.

The aid truck was coordinated by Project Friendship, Chabad of Kentucky’s social-services arm, which collects clothing, shoes and other necessities for those in need. Litvin added that former US Ambassador to the UN Kelly Craft and the University of Kentucky Athletic Department also helped in the coordination and funding of the aid effort.

On Tuesday, IsraAID announced that the Israeli non-governmental humanitarian aid agency has mobilized an emergency response team, expected to arrive in Kentucky in coming days to help with recovery and cleanup efforts. On the ground, IsraAid will join up with Team Rubicon, an international disaster response organization founded by US military veterans, and work closely with local authorities to assess the situation and identify communities and households in need of support.

“Our thoughts are with the communities across the affected area who have been left reeling by Friday’s tornadoes and with the families who have lost loved ones,” IsraAID’s CEO, Yotam Polizer, said. The agency has in recent years provided relief after several disasters in the US, including to communities affected by wildfires in California and hurricanes in Florida and Texas.

“Our team will arrive there soon and will do everything they can to support people in need, together with our partners from Team Rubicon,” Polizer said.

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