Jeff Kaye, who works in The Fellowship’s Israel office, went to Haifa this morning to get a firsthand view of the damage caused by the recent wildfires and to see where The Fellowship can offer the most help.
Jeff first met with Haifa’s mayor, Yona Yahav, who pointed out that The Fellowship is the only organization that has offered to help. Other city officials noted that the government and insurance companies will handle a lot of the private damage. However, key public areas, such as parks and playgrounds, that have sustained damage are not covered.
Jeff then visited the city's Romema neighborhood, which suffered significant damage. Many of the houses in this tree-lined neighborhood were severely burned. Jeff visited the home of Tetiana and Yurii, a couple in the neighborhood who made aliyah (immigrated to Israel) on a Fellowship Freedom Flight from Ukraine this past May. Their rental apartment was badly damaged and they were forced to evacuate. The Fellowship gave them a food card to provide meals while they wait for their home to be made livable again.
Overall, the recent wildfires in Israel – some believed to be started by terrorist-arsonists – have caused millions of dollars in property damages, injured hundreds, and caused tens of thousands of residents to flee their homes as flames approached. Fortunately, no deaths have been linked to the fires, but hundreds of homes and some 32,000 acres of natural woodlands were destroyed.
The Fellowship was immediately in contact with municipal leaders in many of the affected communities, offering assistance with food, clothing, sleeping bags, and other basic necessities. In addition, The Fellowship has staffed an emergency hotline for affected residents, many of them elderly, to call if they need immediate aid.