Thursday, December 02, 2010

Oh my G'd...

We are closely following these events. My wife called me early in the afternoon, just before I was about to leave work. She was already home, and had prepared a bag, just in case. All the way home, driving across Haifa, I saw the enormous smoke clouds over the city. We live on the northern side of the mountain slope, the fire is on the southern side. This is a disaster of national proportions that we haven't witnessed here for quite a few years. Let's hope the fire is estinguished soon. For at least several dozens of people it appears to have been too late already. May their memory be a blessing. Update (3.12.10): We went to bed very late - or early - last night. We had packed one more bag, and I had prepared a pouch with our passports, some other important things, two USB sticks with backups of all the important files on my computer, things like that. It seems that our neighborhood is not being threatened anymore. Several houses in the Denya neighborhood in Haifa (which is the part of Haifa that is closest to where we live) have been evacuated, but the fire did not reach them. The fire is still not under control, but I hope that with international help ( thank G'd for that ) that will finally happen, the sooner the better of course. Slowly but surely the dimensions of this tragedy - and of the unpreparedness of the authorities - are beginning to become clear. Most of the victims who died yesterday were cadets in an officer course of the prison service. That means - on this morning's news bulletins this was confirmed - that most if not all of them were married men and women with young children. One of the missing persons is a 17-year-volunteer, a classmate of the daughter of a very good friend of ours. Today there will be at least 41 funerals all over the country. Once again we see wonderful signs of solidarity, one of the great things that still characterize Israel in times of crisis. People have opened their homes for evacuees, hotels are being filled with them, every possible kind of help is being offered. I just received a message from the school were I work. Tomorrow teachers and students will collect snacks, drinks etc. and distribute them to the firefighters, rescue workers etc. This morning we were invited by friends of ours, who live up north in a mixed religious-secular community in a very pastoral setting, for Friday night dinner (and for the rest of the weekend, if we want to), so that we can breathe some fresh air (we have to keep our windows closed). But we are all fine. I wish that could be said for all those who had to leave their homes, or the people who have lost their homes or - even worse - their loved ones. Our thoughts are with them, and with the thousands of men and women who are working extremely hard under almost impossible circumstances to stop the flames from spreading and to save lives, nature and property. This includes the wonderful men of Zaka. If you look for an organization in Israel that deserves your financial support, Zaka certainly is a worthy option, believe me.

2 comments:

Tal said...

Bert,

I hope that you and your family are o.k. Please, if you find the time, try to update us. It scares the hell out of me, these wildfires.

All the best,

Tal

rungholt said...

Bert, I see Nesher and the huge bell jar of smoke above it. How are you???