IsraAID Launches Coronavirus Response in Italy

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March 31, 2020

Israeli NGO partners with Rome Jewish community to support emergency units

31 March 2020. For immediate release:

Israeli humanitarian aid agency IsraAID will provide support to volunteers and professionals responding to the coronavirus crisis in Italy. Italy has been among the countries worst-affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, with more than 100,000 cases and more than 11,500 deaths.

In partnership with La Deputazione Ebraica di Roma, IsraAID will launch capacity building webinars on stress management, psychological first aid, and community resilience for frontline workers and volunteers in the organization’s emergency units, provide ongoing supervision and guidance, and support locally-led relief activities. La Deputazione Ebraica di Roma is the welfare organization of Rome’s Jewish community, providing financial, legal, social, psychological, and medical assistance to the most vulnerable in the community.

IsraAID previously worked in Italy from 2016 to 2019, following the August 2016 Central Italy earthquake, which claimed the lives of 299 people. Following the initial emergency response, IsraAID’s team focused on strengthening psychosocial support systems, particularly in the heavily-affected town of Amatrice, and bolstering psychosocial support in emergencies across the country. IsraAID has maintained close ties with Italian partner organizations since then, including in the Jewish community.

IsraAID’s remote work with communities affected by the coronavirus pandemic aims to assist frontline workers and “help the helpers”. The Israeli non-governmental organization is currently providing remote support webinars to a group of 35 health workers and mental health professionals in Zhuhai, China. The webinars focus on self-care and stress management and are tailored to the specific needs of frontline workers fighting COVID-19. IsraAID pioneered this approach during the 2014 Ebola outbreak in Sierra Leone, providing stress management workshops to health and social workers at the heart of the response to the epidemic.

IsraAID has also launched stress relief and psychosocial education webinars in the United States. In addition to this online support, each of IsraAID’s 14 field teams currently on the ground in 13 countries worldwide is responding to the pandemic in their local context, primarily through health education and hygiene promotion aimed at preventing the spread of coronavirus.

Yotam Polizer, IsraAID’s CEO, said:
“We’ve been monitoring the situation in Italy as the coronavirus pandemic has worsened. By working remotely with our partners in the Rome Jewish community during this difficult time, we will use our expertise in crisis situations to provide guidance and support as they reach the most vulnerable in the community. Italian communities have shown remarkable strength and resilience as they have been hit by the very worst this disease has to offer –we hope to bolster that in whatever way we can.”

Donations to support IsraAID’s relief efforts can be made through the IsraAID Emergency Response Fund.