US Dispatches Airborne Assistance to Fight Israel’s Wildfires

The U.S. Government, led by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), is immediately dispatching U.S. Department of Defense aircraft to aid in the suppression of the raging wildfires in Israel.

On the way home from visiting the troops in Afghanistan, President Obama called Prime Minister Netanyahu. The President expressed his deepest condolences on behalf of the American people for the tragic loss of life resulting from the fires in northern Israel. The President said he is pleased that American and Israeli officials have been in near-constant contact since the fires began. The President said that USAID and the Department of Defense will be delivering large procurements of fire-retardant chemicals this weekend. The President informed the Prime Minister that the first specialized technical team will arrive tomorrow, with other teams to arrive shortly thereafter, and that the United States government is also working with private industry to mobilize private resources to assist with the effort. The President said that we are working hard to identify a variety of firefighting aircraft to assist with the effort, including possibly deploying assets from the United Sates. The President concluded the conversation by noting that we are pursuing a “full court press” to help and have the Israeli people in our thoughts and prayers.

More after the jump.

Three U.S. Air Force Reserve and Air National Guard C-130 Modular Airborne Fire Fighting System (MAFFS) aircraft will depart the United States for Israel this weekend to conduct fire suppression operations in support of the Government of Israel. In addition, two U.S. European Command C-130 aircraft carrying 20 tons of fire retardant will depart Ramstein Air Base in Germany to arrive over the weekend to further aid in fighting the wildfires.

These aircraft are in addition to the commercial aircraft chartered by USAID to deliver 45 tons of Fire-Troll fire retardant and 12,000 liters of WD881 Class A foam. Through its partnership with the U.S. Forest Service’s Disaster Assistance Support Program, USAID is also deploying a team of experts join with their Israeli counterparts to help combat the fires.

See USAID Factsheet for more information.

B’nai Brith Emergency Fund
As Israel suffers from the worst fire in the nation’s history, B’nai B’rith International has opened its Israel Emergency Fund to raise money to relieve the human suffering and property losses of this catastrophe.

So far, 41 people have been killed, many injured, and thousands displaced, as the devastating blaze ravages northern Israel and threatens the country’s third largest city, Haifa.

In response to Israel’s rare appeal for international assistance, an unprecedented international convoy of firefighters has answered the call and have either already arrived or are enroute. Nations that have put aside tensions to assist Israel include countries as diverse as the United States, Egypt, Turkey, Russia, Greece, Spain, Bulgaria, Azerbaijan, Jordan, Croatia, and many more.

B’nai B’rith International President Dennis W. Glick, in launching the campaign, said, “The B’nai B’rith record of assistance to Israel dates back to 1865 when we raised $4,522 for the victims of a cholera epidemic. We must do everything possible to assist the victims of this catastrophe.

B’nai B’rith International Executive Vice President Daniel S. Mariaschin added, “It is gratifying to see so many nations around the world responding to Israel’s plea for assistance, just as Israel has done with disasters in other countries. In times of crisis, nations put aside differences and deal with the humanitarian needs. We look forward to members and friends of B’nai B’rith responding generously to this campaign.”
Tax deductible donations to the Israel Emergency Fund can be made online using a secure online contribution form.  

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