Latest Information: Fires Spread Across Israel

November 25, 2016

We have all been shocked by the over 200 fires that have broken out in Israel and affected tens of thousands of residents from all communities, most predominantly in the north of the country, where UJIA focuses.

The most significant blaze is in Haifa where over 80,000 people have been evacuated from their homes. Other major first have broken out in Zichron Ya’akov, Modiin, Rishon LeZion, and near Jerusalem. Thankfully, no major injuries have been reported thus far.

Many communities outside of the fire-affected zones are voluntarily taking in families that have been evacuated from their homes. It is striking that at times such as these, our differences evaporate and we see the people of Israel at their finest.

Our UJIA team in Israel is in constant contact with the projects we support as well as local municipalities and RAHEL – the National Emergency Authority. We are constantly reviewing to assess if there is any material support that they need. We have heard incredibly inspirational stories of our partners in Haifa and the Galil, helping elderly residents in affected neighbourhoods and providing extra support to youth who are clearly concerned and in the midst of chaos. Equally moving, is that the Carmiel Children’s village, which fosters children-at-risk, is hosting 3 families from a nearby village that had nowhere else to go. All the children in the village are safe.

The Government of Israel has made funds available to local municipalities for emergency support services including food and shelter, and has announced that it will cover initial costs of temporary housing for those instructed to flee the fires. As of Friday morning, there is no call for additional support from the Diaspora beyond our ongoing extensive philanthropic engagement.

Rest assured that we will constantly review the situation to assess any potential needs that may emerge, monitor the national and local government response, and maintain an open dialogue with partner agencies and our partners in the field – all with a view to assessing if and where we could have an impact.

Our thoughts are with all those affected by these terrible fires.