Israel Needs Your Help: Forest Fire Devastates Haifa

Israel needs your help. The worst fire in the nation’s history erupted yesterday from the forests of the Carmel in Haifa.

International aid from Britain, Bulgaria, Cyprus, and Greece was offered almost immediately to help quench the flames as Israel’s resources were quickly depleted.

As of early Friday morning, Friends of Israel’s Fire Fighters updated:

More than 15,000 residents evacuated, flames near Haifa. Mass evacuation continues into night as fire ranges in northern Israel, thousands of Haifa residents ordered to leave homes. At least 40 dead; casualty information center reopens for first time since Second Lebanon War.

Here’s How You Can Help

Jewish National Fund (JNF)

The Jewish National Fund has established a Forest Fire Emergency Campaign.

Here’s how your donations can help- and keep in mind here how many of our physical resources were lost in the fire and that Israeli firefighting sources will need extensive funds to recuperate from the loss of equipment:

  • $100- Hose
  • $500- Helmet
  • $1,000- Hose Nozzle
  • $5,000- Masks and Tanks
  • $7,500- Camera
  • $10,000- Equipment
  • $50,000- ARV
  • $125,000- Fire Truck

The JNF has also organized an international conference call on Friday, December 3rd for 12:00 EST with CEO Russell Robinson and several of their chief executive officers, as well as Shimon Romach, Chief of the Israel Firefighters, and Tim Tidewell, US Chief of the Forest Service. Click here to register and log-in information will be sent to you.

Note also JNF’s projects to Help Alleviate Israel’s Water CrisisForest Management and Fire Prevention, and Friends of Israel’s Fire Fighters. You can learn more about them here.

— Keep Reading: Magen David Adom (Israeli Red Cross), JGooders, Role of Social Media in Breaking News —

Magen David Adom (Israeli Red Cross)

Magen David Adom (MDA) updates with the following news of devastation from Thursday, December 2nd:

  • 11:30 am: MDA Carmel team activated to provide medical back-up to fire fighters and assist residents of Kibbutz Beit Oren, Druze village of Ussifyah, Damon prison, and University of Haifa. (The University of Haifa’s website posts that the university will be closed until further notice)
  • 3:50 pm: Carmel region announces Mass Casualties Incident due to report of 50 or 60 casualties in area of Kibbutz Beit Oren, which is located inside the Carmel forest. News of people trapped in houses and a bus
  • 4:25 pm: Northern regions put on highest level of alert: Carmel, Asher, Gilboa, Yarden, Sharon, Yarkon.  All life saving vehicles deployed. Reinforcement sent from adjacent regions. On scene, providing emergency aid: 20 medical intensive care units, 67 ambulances, two vehicles specializing in multiple casualty events
  • In cooperation with the National Medical Dispatching Center, MDA recruits thousands of volunteers to help and host evacuees

JGooders

A donation through JGooders will go toward helping the following:

  • Assisting evacuees with emergency shelter and support- 5,000 evacuees as of Thursday night, December 3rd
  • Helping families of victims
  • Opening camps to shelter and support children and students evacuated from region

Social Media as News Sources

Other than the standard news sources (YNet, Jerusalem Post, Ha’aretz), the JTA notes that social media is playing a central role in citizen journalism- something that we’ve noted for other disasters and breaking news incidents.

Note the following for up to the minute news:

If you are unfamiliar with hashtags (#) on Twitter, searching by hashtags means that you will be able to see aggregated posts by every person who is writing on this topic and is using this tag. If the tag is widely acknowledged- as in this case- by everyone writing on the topic, it is an excellent source of news and represents the highest ideal of social media’s ultimate utility.

Facebook: Facebook is not the best source for breaking news as organizations primarily quote from mainstream news sources and there are many organizations which are surely hard at work on the ground, such as the Jewish Agency and Jewish Federations, who have not even mentioned the fire on their pages.

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7 Responses to Israel Needs Your Help: Forest Fire Devastates Haifa

  1. Maya Norton says:

    Permanent shortcut: http://tinyurl.com/haifire.

    Please comment here with updates of organizations who are helping. We want to spread the word about how you can help as widely as possible.

    ~ Maya

  2. Maya Norton says:

    Update:

    The Jewish Agency and the Jewish Federations of North America now have donation pages.

    – JAFI: http://www.jewishagency.org/JewishAgency/English/About/Updates/Personal+Stories/Archive/2010/dec03.htm

    – JFNA:
    http://www.jewishfederations.org/page.aspx?id=234891

    I am now updating at The New Jew: Microblog on Facebook. Please visit me for updates there.
    http://tinyurl.com/TheNewJew

    You can also find me on Twitter:
    http://twitter.com/mayanorton (@mayanorton)

    Otherwise my best recommendation is to follow the hashtags previously mentioned on Twitter- #CarmelFire, #IsraelFire- although I my Facebook updates are intended for those not using Twitter.

    ~ Maya

  3. emilylhauser says:

    I just wanted to thank you for linking to my post. The fire broke out three days before we were scheduled to leave Israel and I didn’t have much of a chance to do anything like follow up with nice people on the internet! We got back to the US today, though, and I wanted to say thank you. I was very glad to see that in the hours that we were traveling from one country to the next, the fire appears to finally be under control.

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