Monday, 25 Sep 2023 - 10 of Tishri, 5784

IsraAid, JDC, Chabad assist Ukrainians on the ground in wake of dam flooding

Google+ Pinterest LinkedIn Tumblr +

The Jewish community became a center for everyone. It is a light to the nations,” Rabbi Yosef Wolff, director of the Jewish Community of Kherson Chabad, told JNS.

By Rachel Avraham, JNS

IsraAid, Israel’s largest humanitarian-aid organization, began operating in Ukraine’s Kherson region in November 2022. So when the Kakhovka Dam collapsed on June 6, flooding southeastern Ukraine—killing several people and stranding thousands—those in the region turned to the Israeli non-governmental organization for help.

IsraAid representatives were already on the ground in the affected areas on the morning of June 7, Anna Pantiukhova, translator and communications officer at IsraAid’s Ukraine mission, told JNS.

“We brought them medication and held training in first aid,” she said.

Ukrainian authorities have evacuated more than 16,000 people, and access to drinking water and electricity across the region has been significantly disrupted, according to IsraAid. Pantiukhova told JNS that floodwaters were nearly 10 feet deep in some areas.

What caused the dam—set to the east of Kherson and built in 1956—to break remains unclear, though some point fingers at the current conflict.

The Russian war with Ukraine, now entering its 16th month, has exacerbated the humanitarian crisis, Pantiukhova said.

“Besides the obvious destruction of the ecosystem, animals and people, the area was mined. A lot of [those]mines are moving along with the flow of the water,” she said. “It increases the danger for the civilians and the consequences for the environment.”

IsraAid’s team on the ground coordinated with Ukraine’s health ministry and the office of its first lady, Olena Zelenska, as well as with local authorities and NGOs. It dispatched two trucks and shipped five pallets of medications to a local hospital, according to Pantiukhova. IsraAid has also procured motor pumps and lay-flat hoses to remove floodwaters, which she expects to arrive by June 12.

In the coming days, IsraAid is expected to deliver 200 sets of bedding, blankets, pillows and towels, and send mobile water-treatment plants. It will also provide mental-health support and resources for traumatized children.

“This is not a one-day problem. We stay with communities as long as they need it. We will stay with the communities that got affected as long as it takes and do more than just provide for immediate needs,” said Pantiukhova.


About Author

Leave A Reply