Israel Provides Guatemala Relief from Tropical Storm Eta
Central American countries have been devastated by Tropical Storm Eta over the past two weeks. Guatemala has been hit particularly hard by the storm, as it is believed to have suffered more than 150 fatalities and seen 200,000 of its residents heavily affected, including tens of thousands who had to evacuate their homes. Thankfully, Guatemala has a friend in Israel. An Israeli humanitarian aid agency, IsraAID, has launched an emergency response in Guatemala. Its local team arrived on November 9 to assist in Alta Verapaz, one of the most heavily affected areas in the country, where they began providing “psychological first aid, medical support, relief items, hygiene kits, and water filters,” according to JNS.org.
IsraAID has had an active team in Guatemala since 2018 when the Volcán de Fuego erupted and damaged much of the southern area of Escuintla. By having this team in place, they were able to assist Guatemala immediately when the COVID-19 pandemic struck this year. They also use Israeli trauma experts to train local workers to help provide long-term support for the victims of natural disasters.
Guatemala has enjoyed a pleasant relationship with Israel since the latter was established. It holds the distinction of being the second nation to recognize Israel officially in 1948 and the second nation to move its embassy to Jerusalem in 2018. Guatemala has a large Christian population that supports Israel, obeying God’s command to bless the Jewish people. Its Jewish population is made to feel very welcome and secure, rarely suffering any anti-Semitism (The Jerusalem Post). Such connections have led the two nations to develop a healthy, genuine friendship.
I’ve seen tragic footage of the destruction Tropical Storm Eta has caused in Guatemala, so to know they have a friend in Israel providing physical help when they need it most is a great relief. We pray for the victims of this storm and rejoice that God’s Chosen People are reaching out to help when Guatemala needs it most.