The Israel Rescue Coalition (IRC) on Wednesday sent a team of the United Hatzalah Psychotrauma and Crisis Response Unit to Houston, Texas, to offer aid to residents who have been under water for a week following Hurricane Harvey. The team of psychologists and psychiatrists arrived in Houston Thursday morning, local time.
“People need help on the ground,” said Dov Maisel, Director of International Operations for the IRC and Vice President of United Hatzalah. “They need to be able to wrap their minds around what was lost and they need assistance figuring out how to cope and where to go from here.” Maisel’s previous experience includes serving in Haiti following the 2016 Hurricane Matthew, and in Nepal in 2015 following a devastating earthquakes.
Miriam Ballin, a native of Houston and the Director of United Hatzalah’s Psychotrauma and Crisis Response Unit, leads the mission. “I’m am happy to be given the opportunity to head back to my hometown and help during this time of crisis,” she said. “Our team provides the IRC with a new capability developed in Israel that no one else in the world is currently doing, and that is to provide rapid response psychological first aid and trauma support.”
“The community in Houston and the people of Texas feel a strong connection to the State of Israel and many of them are big supporters of the state and of the Jewish People. It is therefore our responsibility to help them in their time of need, as friends and professionals who can offer help to our fellow human beings. We are going tonight to help all the people of Houston, no matter what community you belong to or what your background is, we will be there for you.”