50,000 calls for help during five day storm in Israel

Publié: 20 décembre 2013 9:43 CET

The Magen David Adom (MDA) was well prepared for the storm which battered Israel over the weekend. The organization was able to call on the support of thousands of volunteers to help in the response, working day and night for five days, providing first aid and medical assistance, evacuating people who were stranded on the roads or in their own house, setting up shelters and distributing relief items such as blankets, mattresses, tarpaulins and kitchen sets.  

The MDA received almost 50,000 calls for assistance during the storm and emergency and medical teams reached thousands of people in need, using more than 600 emergency vehicles. Among them jeep-ambulances and other 4x4 vehicles, who could negotiate the snow masses blocking the streets.

The heavy rain and snow also generated floods in several parts of Palestine, and parts of Gaza were described as one massive lake with two meters of water engulfing homes and standing thousands of people.

The society is well-versed in disaster preparation and was able to turn its own operations centre in Tel Aviv into a temporary shelter for families displaced by the floods. The most intensive support was focused on the most affected and vulnerable, including children, the elderly and pregnant women. In Jerusalem alone, more than 300 pregnant women were assisted during the storm.

The storms caused extensive damage to power supplied leaving thousands without heat or light during a period of extreme cold. MDA used its fleet of four-wheel drive ambulances and heavy-duty vehicles to help transport those affected to evacuation shelters or relatives with power.

Altogether more than 40,000 people have been evacuated, sheltered, treated and received relief items during the past week by MDA and the Palestine Red Crescent Society, who have coordinated their relief efforts with each other as well as with their respective authorities.

The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies made 113,005CHF available from its Disaster Relief Emergency Fund to provide assistance to over 7,000 people affected by the storms. The operation will run until the middle of January.