Immediately after Yom Kippur, a delegation of volunteers from IsraAID made its way to Denver, and with them Rami Mussli and Nimrod Ben Aharon from the Har HaNegev Rescue Unit. They have been to Boulder and to the communities north of Boulder.
A review of the situation shows that the devastation is vast, especially in the towns north of Boulder. One of these towns has been completely swept away and apparently will not undergo renovation, but rather will be destroyed and completely re-built. Tens of thousands of homes have been damaged.
The team took part in a special volunteer day with Jewish Organizations, and together they restored the home of a member of the Jewish community, and additional houses in Boulder and the adjacent town of Longmont.
An additional two volunteers joined the team in Colorado during the last week of September, and there are currently five volunteers working in the small town of Lyons, just north of Boulder. The town sits at the mouth of a narrow canyon, whose river overflowed and reached heights of several meters. The large amounts of debris and water have damaged all of the town’s infrastructure and homes. During the past three days the team has focused all of its energy on this town.
The Israeli team is working along with an organization called Team Robicon. This organization is made up of Veterans of the US military that established a voluntary body which provides assistance and rescue in emergency stricken areas.
Team members report that there is a positive atmosphere, despite the hard physical work which demands great effort.
Today (Sunday, Sept 30th), the team assisted the Habad House in Boulder, which was also damaged, in hopes that they can restore it to a reasonable state.
On Monday afternoon a group of Jewish youth from Boulder will join the IsraAID team, as well as the Ramat HaNegev youth delegation (which is currently working in Boulder for two weeks).
On Thursday an additional 3 volunteers will join the Ramat HaNegev team, creating a short overlap between newcomers and those that are preparing to return to Israel.
Responses from the community and from the non-Jewish organizations are all fantastic and everyone is proud of the Israeli team. Next week we will examine the possibility of integrating additional volunteers into the efforts.
Pictures from the worksites are posted on IsraAID’s facebook page:
www.facebook.com/israaid – Give them a LIKE, they’re working hard…