Monday, October 20, 2014

Israel: Supplying Aid to the Besieged Kurds

Since 2001 the non-profit, non-governmental organization IsraAID has been first on the front lines of nearly every major humanitarian  disaster in the 21st century, mobilizing  medics, search & rescue squads, post-trauma experts and disaster relief supplies to the worlds most vulnerable people.

IsraAID has
-Responded to crises in 25 countries
-Reached over 1,000,000 people
-Distributed over 1,000 tons of relief and medical supplies
-Trained more than 5,000 local professionals
-Mobilized over 800 staff, volunteers, and professionals (among them 200 doctors / nurses and 125 therapists and social workers).
Ad now, IsraAid is helping the Kurds as they fight for their survival, supplying beds, blankets and food to over 1,000 Kurdish families in the city of Duhok.

From Israel National News
The emergency supplies could not have come soon enough. Many of those at the camp arrived with only the clothes on their back and are living in nothing more than tents or makeshift huts. As winter approaches their misery has increased still further, with recent rainstorms and cold weather just a harbinger of worse to come: some parts of the region receive a meter of snow on average amid subzero temperatures.

IsraAID's Founding Director Shahar Zahavi told Arutz Sheva that the Israeli team were warmly received by the Kurdish residents of the camp.

"They were aware that we were Israel, and they received us very well. The Kurdish people really love Israel," he said.

Indeed, the Jewish state has good - if somewhat covert - relations with the Kurdish Regional Government in particular, and many Kurds and Israelis see eye-to-eye on crucial issues such as the wave of Islamic fundamentalism sweeping the Middle East, which threatens both nations.

IsraAID has provided aid to disaster zones across the world, from Haiti to Japan, and from the Philipines to South Sudan. But Zahavi explained that the mission to help Kurdish victims of ISIS resonated particularly strongly with them. As the Middle East's only full democracy, Israel has a special duty to aid the Kurds - who are the largest stateless nation in the region - in their struggle for freedom against Islamist forces, Zahavi said.

The mission - which was the first of its kind by an Israeli aid agency - went smoothly enough, and was coordinated with the KRG. But aid workers soon witnessed the extreme conditions faced by refugee when a massive storm tore through the camp, flooding the entire area and destroying many of the tents.

Duhok is part of the autonomous Kurdish region run by the Kurdish Regional Government (KRG), where nearly two million refugees - including Christians and Yazidis - have fled ISIS's genocidal military campaign. 

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