An aerial view shows a local resident being rescued from a submerged house by rescue workers using helicopter at a flooded area in Kurashiki, southern Japan, in this photo taken by Kyodo July 7, 2018.
(photo credit: KYODO/VIA REUTERS)
Israeli humanitarian aid organization IsraAID deployed an emergency response team to western Japan Monday, two days after torrential rains and floods began.
JISP, IsraAID's Japan branch, will distribute urgent relief items and is assessing the medical and post-trauma psycho-social needs. IsraAID staff is equipped to provide Psychological First Aid and mental health support for evacuees.
Over two million people were ordered to evacuate their homes during the search and rescue efforts. There are 95 reported fatalities and dozens are still missing. According to reports from IsraAID this is one of the worst weather-related catastrophes since the 2011 earthquake and tsunami.
The severe floods have left many stranded travelers and residents, including Israelis.
One such Israeli, Dana Eisenberg, said "people walked around five streets just to cross the road. I was already soaked in water so I crossed the road in that river. People in cars looked at me with admiration for my 'courage.' I almost fell into the water, because the current was too strong."
Yifat Elyashar, a Japanese pottery master who lives in Kyoto for a sabbatical year describes the scene: "It's raging, the river is overflowing, there are traffic jams all over the city, and the JR train stopped, just let them out, we have a bus tomorrow to Tokyo to return to Israel, and I hope it will work out. There are constant alarms, like the ones in Israel [when there is a rocket].Oh God in heaven, walking from the Kyoto Station would be faster."
IsraAID was also pivotal for providing critical post-trauma capacity-building, psychosocial and mental health support and leadership training for youth after the 2011 tsunami in Japan.
Yotam Polizer, IsraAID's co-CEO, notes, “For the last seven years, IsraAID and our local branch JISP have worked closely to support thousands of survivors affected by the tsunami and earthquakes. The Japanese people are some of the most resilient and inspiring people we have ever worked with. We are proud of our Japanese team and will continue to support the affected communities as long as needed.”
According to forecasts, the severe weather will continue over the weekend.