The Camp Fire in California rages. (AP/Noah Berger) (AP/Noah Berger)
California fire

IsrAID has deployed a team to assist the victims of the California mass blazes to rebuild their lives.  

By: United with Israel Staff and AP

IsraAID, an Israeli humanitarian NGO, has deployed an emergency response team to California following devastating wildfires in recent weeks and further aid is on the way.

At the request of local communities, IsraAID’s team is conducting a needs assessment of the population in the affected area, to promote community resilience and recovery and facilitate distribution of relief items to families currently staying in temporary accommodation after losing their homes in the fires.

Two ongoing wildfires hit California in recent weeks, with the Camp Fire, which has burned an area about the size of the city of Chicago — nearly 238 square miles (616 square kilometers) — and destroyed around 13,000 homes, 75 percent contained as ofTuesday.

The 151-square-mile (391-square-kilometer) Woolsey Fire was almost entirely contained, with 1,500 buildings destroyed and 341 damaged. The major remaining closed area was centered in the rugged Santa Monica Mountains that rise high above the Malibu coast.

With the death toll at 81 in the state’s most destructive wildfire, there are nearly 870 people still unaccounted for.

In Northern California, teams continued sifting through ash and debris as they searched for bodies in and around the decimated town of Paradise.

Many local residents have been evacuated from their homes in the affected area and are living in temporary accommodation, including tent cities and shelters.

IsraAID’s team includes Israeli and US-based mental health specialists, who work with partner organizations on-the-ground to support affected communities as they recover and promote community resilience.

IsraAID has extensive experience responding to disasters in the US in recent years. IsraAID currently has an emergency response team on-the-ground in Florida, helping families affected by Hurricane Michael return to their homes.

In 2017, IsraAID responded to wildfires in Sonoma County, California, where IsraAID’s team distributed relief supplies and worked on strengthening community resilience and children’s well-being in the city of Santa Rosa.

As of 2018, IsraAID has responded to crises in 47 countries, and currently has programs in 18 countries.