Photo Credit: Wikimedia / cyclonebiskit
Woolsey Fire evacuation as smoke plume rises near Malibu, Nov. 9 2018

Israel is sending aid to California in the wake of the worst wildfire in the history of the state.

More than 1,300 people are still missing, and at least 79 others have died in the fires that have raged across the state in recent weeks. The ‘Camp Fire’ that struck northern California and completely wiped out the town of Paradise has been declared to be the worst wild fire ever to strike the state.

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The IsraAID organization will shortly deploy an emergency response team to the state following the devastating wildfires.

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

The Camp Fire has burned more than 149,000 acres and destroyed more than 13,000 structures in Butte County alone.

In the southern part of the state, the Woolsey Fire has burned more than 98,362 acres near the border between Ventura and Los Angeles counties.

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 will include Israeli and U.S.-based mental health specialists, who will work with partner organizations on the ground to support affected communities as they recover, and promote community resilience.

The Israeli humanitarian aid organization has extensive experience responding to disasters in the United States 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 its team distributed relief supplies and worked on strengthening community resilience and children’s well-being in the city of Santa Rosa.

As of 2018, the organization has responded to crises in 49 countries, and currently has programs in 18 countries.

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Hana Levi Julian is a Middle East news analyst with a degree in Mass Communication and Journalism from Southern Connecticut State University. A past columnist with The Jewish Press and senior editor at Arutz 7, Ms. Julian has written for Babble.com, Chabad.org and other media outlets, in addition to her years working in broadcast journalism.