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Over the last two years, IsraAID built a water system bringing running water to homes in South Tongoa in partnership with Vanuatu’s Department of Water and Resources, the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, and local communities. The below interview with Church Elder Edmond Joseph describes what the water system means to the communities in Meriu and Bonga Bonga, who faced water shortages preceding this intervention.

What was life like in the community without a running water system?

In the past, when there was no running water, our parents and grandparents would go up the hill with bamboo poles…


Maia Brandstadter was deployed to Lesbos, Greece as a Psychosocial Support Expert in September 2020 after the Moria Refugee Camp burned down. Today, Maia works as Junior Program Officer for Europe and Asia/Pacific Regions at IsraAID HQ.

Humanitarian missions are inherently composed of layers of uncertainty, caused by unexpected and unwelcome events. In this sense, as I prepare myself to travel to Lesbos, Greece, after fires burned down the largest refugee camp in Europe, I’m diving into the unknown. My only goal is to try and help alleviate suffering.

In September, the Moria Refugee Camp, home to some 12,000 asylum…


Aymeric Astre is IsraAID’s Country Director in Colombia, where his team is currently responding to support communities affected by Hurricane Iota.

Credit: Alexandra Insignares

Three weeks ago, Hurricane Iota struck Cartagena, one of Latin America’s most beautiful colonial towns. 70% of the city flooded, with some 155,000 people affected. Emergency response efforts are supporting those displaced in temporary shelters. But there is an underlying issue — a deep and much-overlooked emergency — that has been ongoing for years.

But there is an underlying issue — a deep and much-overlooked emergency — that has been ongoing for years.

There are 55,000 mixed migrants — including Venezuelan refugees and Colombian returnees — living in the city. Most are among the more than 300,000 people…


Sasha Pinder is the Digital Content and Communications Assistant for IsraAID Bahamas

Just six months after Hurricane Dorian hit the Bahamas, the COVID-19 pandemic began. Here, just like most other places in the world, lockdowns went into effect, schools closed down, and tourism basically disappeared. Because communities here on the ground were still recovering from the immense damage caused by the storm, many were left even more vulnerable to this new pandemic reality.

Credit: Daniel Tchetchik.

The island of Abaco was the most severely affected by Hurricane Dorian. Overall, the storm claimed the lives of hundreds and caused significant damage, with 75% of…


Guatemala Country Director Jaime Rhemrev is currently leading IsraAID’s emergency response mission in Alta Verapaz, among the areas impacted by Storm Eta and Hurricane Iota. Over the last years, Jaime has led many of IsraAID’s emergency response missions across Latin America: in Mexico, Peru, Ecuador, and previously in Guatemala as well.

Credit: Oliver Pablo González.

It’s now been two weeks since we launched our emergency response mission in Alta Verapaz, Guatemala. This is one of the regions most severely impacted by Storm Eta and Hurricane Iota, who brought with them torrential rains that lasted more than a week. …


Jaime Rhemrev, IsraAID Guatemala Country Director, shares her insight as emergency response efforts launch following Storm Eta and Hurricane Iota.

Storm Eta struck Guatemala last week, causing overwhelming damage to many communities across the country and affecting some 200,000 people with heavy rains, flooding, and mudslides, and claiming the lives of 150 people. Our team here in Guatemala immediately began preparing to respond in the Alta Verapaz Department, one of the most severely affected areas. Hurricane Iota made landfall just days later — exacerbating response efforts and causing additional destruction.

Damage in Guatemala’s Alta Verapaz Department after Storm Eta. Credit: Oliver Pablo González.

I’ve responded to a lot of emergencies with IsraAID over…


“Having the right information to improve social distancing and maintain personal hygiene helps to instill confidence,” explained Beatrice, an IsraAID refugee facilitator.

Can you introduce yourself and where you work?

Hi, I’m Apio Annet, and I’m IsraAID Country Director for both Uganda and Kenya. We support refugee and host communities, a majority of whom originally came from South Sudan, focusing on Child Protection issues and providing support at our five Child-Friendly Spaces across the two countries. We work in Kenya’s Kakuma Refugee Camp, home to over 185,000 refugees, and in Uganda’s Palorinya Refugee Settlement, where some 120,000 refugees live.

This is a particularly difficult environment to control the spread of infection because access to vital essentials — including soap, water, other hygiene products, and indeed information — is extremely limited.

How…


Georgia Kaltsidou is IsraAID’s Integration Officer in the Sindos suburb of Thessaloniki, where our Community Center provides job training, psychosocial support, and educational opportunities for refugees and asylum seekers.

Refugee volunteers at the Sindos Community Center

We understood the hidden burden of the pandemic, the way the lockdown levied a much heavier toll than we could have imagined on the refugee community

On March 6, the first COVID-19 restrictions were imposed in Greece — including permits to move around, hygiene measures, social distancing, and, of course, a lockdown of most businesses. After only two months at home, on May 4, the Greek government began to lift restrictions…


Volunteer Lisa Nupoff shares her experience distributing food with IsraAID in Los Angeles to vulnerable communities amid the COVID-19 outbreak

Lisa volunteering with IsraAID and the LA Food Bank

I first connected with IsraAID — the international humanitarian aid NGO— this past September, when I spent time in Puerto Rico getting to know the organization and its work through its partnership with REALITY, an initiative of the Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Foundation, which brings together highly influential thinkers and trailblazers to Israel, to elevate their leadership and ignite their ambition to change the world. …


Michal Bar, IsraAID’s Head of Emergency Response, reflects on the uniqueness of the coronavirus pandemic and its effect on international humanitarian work.

Michal (right) during IsraAID’s response to Hurricane Dorian in the Bahamas, 2019. Photo by Daniel Tchetchik

What drives me is the human interaction in each community. They teach me everything I need to know

Over the past two years as IsraAID’s Head of Emergency Response, I’ve led programming for dozens of missions across the globe, from flooding in Southern India to wildfires in California, through a cyclone in Zimbabwe and, most recently, Hurricane Dorian, which hit the Bahamas last year. Indeed, I’m often one of the first on the ground, present for difficult moments of reckoning as communities come to terms with the impact of disasters.

Each situation is complex, and each event is different from…

IsraAID

Stories from IsraAID's work providing life-saving emergency relief and durable solutions for populations affected by crisis. http://www.israaid.org

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