The American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC) is participating in relief and recovery efforts for evacuated Israelis in the wake of the country’s unprecedented and devastating forest fires. JDC—which runs programs in communities affected by the blaze—has been working continuously with local authorities and the Israeli government to ensure the safety and well-being of the most vulnerable in the area.

“Our hearts go out to Israel and especially to those mourning the loss of their loved ones to these destructive fires. JDC’s Emergency Response Team in Northern Israel was activated immediately and reached out to the elderly, disabled and youth-at-risk to help ensure their swift evacuation and provide basic needs and emotional support to them during this traumatic time,” said JDC CEO Steven Schwager.

In addition, JDC’s network of Israeli volunteer initiatives is working closely with local municipalities to provide additional support in the area. JDC’s Emergency Response System—developed during the second intifada and the Second Lebanon War—is ensuring support and assistance is delivered.

In the aftermath of the fires, JDC will launch immediate rehabilitation programs that will provide assistance to affected vulnerable populations. Additionally, JDC will assist with the ongoing deployment of local emergency response teams and psycho-social support for children and families.

JDC is working closely with the Israel’s Ministries of Social Affairs and Health, Home Front Command and the National Emergency Network to monitor the situation and make a clear assessment of current and future needs once the fires have been extinguished.