Israeli aid team in the Philippines braces for another typhoon

Israeli aid team in the

By REBECCA BASKIN
October 18, 2009 22:48
2 minute read.
Israaid phillipines 248.88

Israaid phillipines 248.88. (photo credit: )

As the Israeli aid team in the Philippines treats thousands affected by a series of deadly typhoons, another major storm may be on the way, a harbinger of more destruction and devastation. The storms have left over 300 dead, hundreds of thousands homeless and an estimated 2.5 million adversely affected. The Israel Forum for International Humanitarian Aid (IsraAID) arrived in the country soon after the storms struck to help with relief efforts. All volunteers on the ground are members of FIRST, an IsraAID member organization. Their efforts, however, may soon be stymied, as the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) sent out an alert Saturday that a new typhoon, Ramil, is gaining strength and could develop into a super typhoon that could hit the country early this week. The storm currently has a radius of 500 km. and may still expand. On Sunday, PAGASA's chief weather forecaster Prisco Nilo said the typhoon might hit north Luzon in three days, with sustained winds of 175 kph. and gusts of 210 kph. The storm is expected to spare the Manila region. The government has advised residents of the northern Luzon province, the area hardest hit by the first round of storms, to take necessary precautions. The IsraAID team is also being careful. "We're waiting to see if it hits or not, but for now we decided to take precautions," IsraAID spokesperson Shahar Zeevi told The Jerusalem Post on Sunday, "If it's going to hit, then we'll stay in the Manila area. In the meantime, we're continuing to work up north." The IsraAID team has been working hard since their arrival, treating over 300 people a day. At the request of the UN, they have moved north, where their help is most needed. An additional seven Israeli medical personnel are expected to arrive before the end of the month. Elad Seker, head of the IsraAID-FIRST team said, "We barely sleep five hours a night. We wake up very early and travel by trucks and then boats to remote flooded areas to treat thousands who are waiting for our assistance. "After a long day of work in the field we go back to the warehouse to pack medicine for the next day. It's very hard and we are tired, but we also feel rewarded that we have the chance to help so many people who know that we are here on behalf of Israel and the Jewish communities." The team's efforts are supported by the American Jewish Committee, B'nai B'rith International, The American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee, UJA Federation of Greater Toronto and the Jewish Federation of Los Angeles and with the help of Operation Blessing in the Field.


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