HELP TO VENEZUELA
 
Public and private bodies here are rallying to help flood-ravaged
Venezuela. The Foreign Ministry is coordinating a shipment of aid,
including a large supply of medicine, while the National Kibbutz Movement
has opened food and clothing collection centers in several areas of the
country. The Foreign and Defense
ministries are presently discussing the option of sending a special medical
team to the region, similar to the Israeli medical mission sent to Turkey
after last summer's major earthquake there.

Arutz-7 spoke today with Sarah Beck, a representative of the Israeli
religious-Zionist kollel [Torah study and teaching group] organization
Torah Mitziyon in Caracas, Venezuela, about the horrific situation there.
"Most of the damage was caused in the poor and outlying neighborhoods," she
said, "largely because of the miserable housing conditions in which the
people lived there. The houses were built in narrow valleys, and were
unable to withstand the heavy rains and erosion of years worth of garbage
that had accumulated..." Mrs. Beck said that the official number of dead
is 25,000, "but many more are buried underneath. There was never any
official count of the population in these places, and some say that there
are up to 80,000 dead... There are calls for help on television, for
instance: '3 families are stuck in such and such place - whoever can get
there by helicopter is asked to please go.' There is terrible lack of
organization, and people are paying with their lives for it."

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