IsraAID supporting evacuated communities in next stages of recovery

25 January, 2024

IsraAID

IsraAID, Israel’s leading non-governmental humanitarian aid organization, is entering a new stage of its emergency response in Israel, accompanying evacuated Gaza border region communities as they move from hotels and hostels in the Dead Sea and Eilat to new, longer-term housing solutions. With each community moving into a different framework, the organization is working closely with community leaders and local authorities to meet their varying needs in mental health and education, as part of its commitment to supporting affected communities on the long road to recovery.

Since the attacks on October 7th, some 200,000 Israelis have been displaced from their homes, with many housed in evacuation centers in hotels at the Dead Sea, Eilat, and around the country. As communities enter the next phase of recovery, some will remain in evacuation centers for the coming months, some will be integrated into other kibbutzim and municipalities, and others will be scattered across the country until their communities can be rebuilt. IsraAID is continuing to offer psychosocial support, creative therapy spaces, temporary educational solutions, and integration into existing educational structures on a community-by-community basis, working in close coordination with community leaders and local authorities. Among others, IsraAID is working with the communities of Be’eri, Nir Yitzhak, Nir Oz, Nahal Oz, Kissufim, Kerem Shalom, Re’im, and Yevul.

IsraAID launched its emergency response in Israel on October 8th, working in over a dozen evacuation centers in the Dead Sea, Eilat, and across the country. Together with dozens of civil society organizations, community leadership committees, regional councils, and the Ministries of Health and Education, the organization is providing tailored solutions to the needs of each community.

IsraAID’s mental health programs have included child-and-parent spaces, stress-relief activities, distribution of resilience kits, and guidance for parents. IsraAID is also committed to ‘helping the helpers’ and has facilitated training sessions for first responders, and online webinars for mental health professionals and grassroots volunteers in psychological first aid, self-care, burnout prevention, and the prevention of vicarious trauma.

IsraAID has also worked to build temporary frameworks to minimize disruption to evacuated children’s education, while offering a sense of stability and routine, together with local authorities.  Some of these temporary education centers, such as the Field School at Ein Gedi and the Eshkol Regional Council school in Eilat, will continue to function through the end of the school year. In other cases, IsraAID is currently working to help students transition to more stable educational structures with minimal disruption and providing psychosocial support for teachers and students.

In addition to supporting displaced communities, IsraAID is working with AJEEC-NISPED, an Arab-Jewish NGO focusing on development in the Negev, to install protective spaces from ongoing rocket fire in unrecognized Bedouin villages and support the Bedouin community with mental health and psychosocial support training. IsraAID is also a partner in the Secret Forest program, which offers therapeutic retreats in Cyprus for survivors of the attack on the Nova Festival. In addition to funding, IsraAID has provided trained therapists to help facilitate the program and created referral pathways for participants to receive continued care after their return.

IsraAID’s CEO, Yotam Polizer, said:

Over the last three months, I’ve had the privilege of meeting with community leaders from the kibbutzim and moshavim who have been deeply affected by this crisis. Their resilience is inspiring, and I am so moved by the connection, trust, and partnership that has been created between our teams and these communities since October 8th. That trust has enabled us now to continue supporting these communities in their next stage of recovery.

From the very beginning, one of the things that helped us build that trust was the promise of a long-term commitment. From the first days in the evacuation centers, we promised communities that we’d be there for them for as long as they need us, and that’s exactly what we’re doing.

Unfortunately, we all know that the road to recovery is long. As communities leave the evacuation centers and transition into temporary housing, we are still there, working hand-in-hand and co-creating the future together.

-ENDS-

Further information is available on request, including interviews with IsraAID CEO Yotam Polizer and other individuals involved in this operation.

PHOTOS:

A folder of photos from IsraAID’s Israel response are available for download and use here. All photos should be credited to the photographer if available in the file name, and IsraAID.

CONTACT:

Shachar May
Email: [email protected]
Phone/Whatsapp: +972586664969

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