Tragedy: floods strike Eastern Russia; relief efforts have begun

Floods hitting Eastern Russia this week, are considered to be the worst environmental disaster in the last 120 years. The waters – expected to remain high for several more days – have already caused more than 100 deaths. The FJC of Russia has begun relief efforts in order to assist and save lives.  

At least eight million people living in the area have been affected, directly or indirectly. The heavy rains severely damaged the remote eastern regions of Russia. According to reports, more than 20,000 people were forced to abandon their homes as a result of the overflowing river.

Many residents in the area of the Bezier River and the city of Khabarovsk refused to evacuate and preferred to stay on the roofs of their homes for fear of looting. Several villages located near the river were completely flooded.

The government sent in thousands of soldiers and rescue teams to the area in an attempt to restore order, and the Russian army set up 166 temporary shelters in three provinces. They are providing water, food and medicine to the thousands of civilians who were left homeless.

The Association of Jewish Communities of Russia responded to a request of the Chief Rabbi of Russia Berel Lazar, and has sent out thousands of clothes and large sums of money to help many Jewish families affected by the floods.

The help packages will be distributed by the FJC’s communal Rabbis in Eastern Russia, Yaakov Santikov of Khabarovsk and Eliyahu Reiss of Birobidzhan. They will personally take care of the Jewish families in these cities.

Thank G-d, the buildings of the Synagogues and the FJC’s Jewish “Or Avner” Schools and were not affected by the floods, and the upcoming school year will commence as planned.[nggallery id=230]

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