Search and rescue personnel at the Champlain Towers in Florida. (AP/Wilfredo Lee) (AP/Wilfredo Lee)
Florida building collapse

IDF Homefront Command, United Hatzalah and a cabinet minister are on way to Florida to help stricken community.

By United With Israel Staff

Israel dispatched humanitarian assistance to Miami following the collapse of a 12-story Champlain Towers South condominium building in the city’s Surfside area. The death toll rose to five as search and rescue teams combed through the rubble.

Reports put the number of missing at 156, while another 130 are now accounted for. Reports put the Jewish population of Surfside at 6,000, with many affiliated with Chabad. According to the Israeli consulate in Miami, around 20 of the missing are believed to have Israeli citizenship.

The IDF sent a search and rescue team made up of “approximately 10 reserve officers from the Home Front Command, all top experts in engineering and social care efforts,” according to an IDF statement. As part of Operation Helping Hand, the team will help map out the disaster zone, assist the Jewish community in identifying victims and survivors, and provide general support for the local rescue teams.

In 2016, the World Health Organization ranked the IDF’s emergency medical team as number one in the world.

Diaspora Affairs Minister Nachman Shai also left for Florida to meet with local Jewish leaders for several days. When he returns to Israel, Shai will present Bennett with plans to assist the Jewish community.

Israel’s United Hatzalah also dispatched a six-person team from its Psychotrauma and Crisis Response Unit to provide psychological support. The Hatzalah delegation will be led by Dov Maisel and Einat Kaufman, who have led or participated in similar missions in Nepal, Haiti, and Japan, as well as Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and the Tree Of Life mass shooting that took place in Pittsburgh.

Prime Minister Naftali Bennett called Florida Governor Rick DeSantis to express condolences and offer help.

“The United States is our greatest friend, and we stand by your side during this difficult time. We all pray for the safety of the wounded. I instructed all authorities in the Israeli government to assist in any way that may be required,” Bennett told DeSantis, according to a readout from the Prime Minister’s Office.

Investigators don’t yet have answers as to why 55 of the tower’s 136 apartment units collapsed without warning early Thursday morning. Kobi Karp, a prominent Miami architect and Israeli native told ABC News the the collapse likely resulted from “a collection of bad things.”