An IsraAid volunteer works under the deck of a West Virginia home. An IsraAid volunteer works under the deck of a West Virginia home. An IsraAid volunteer works under the deck of a West Virginia home. (Photo: Courtesy photo)

West Virginia flood relief comes from half a world away

When a historic natural disaster arrived, so did a group from thousands of miles away.

Severe flooding in West Virginia damaged more than a thousand homes in the Appalachian state, and now a group from 5,000 miles away has flown in to help the communities rebuild. IsraAid, a humanitarian aid agency from Tel Aviv, Israel, dispatched a team of volunteers to the devastated areas to assist in the cleanup and reconstruction.

"The floods caused so much disaster in parts of our state," David Leviev, a law student at West Virginia University, told From The Grapevine. "It's heartening to see groups like IsraAid and others from across the globe swoop in to help out in our time of need."

A Team Rubicon representative (left) and one from IsraAid assess the damage.A representative from U.S.-based Team Rubicon (left) and one from IsraAid assess the damage. (Photo: Courtesy photo)

IsraAid is no stranger to disaster relief. In recent years, they have dispatched groups of aid workers to far reaches of the globe – from Vanuatu to Nepal, where the organization's volunteers created an unconventional method to deliver much-needed medicine.

"We come with a smile and a lot of good vibe," said IsraAid's Dan Friedman, who made the trip to West Virginia. For this project, they teamed up with U.S.-based Team Rubicon. Volunteers in both groups share a unique bond – all of them are veterans. "We've been working with them for years," Friedman added. "We're happy to be here."

Below are some photos from this summer's relief efforts in West Virginia...

A mud-soaked volunteer takes a break in the back yard.A mud-soaked volunteer takes a break in the back yard. (Photo: Courtesy photo)

IsraAid volunteers take apart a floorboard damaged by the recent flooding.IsraAid volunteers take apart a floorboard damaged by the recent flooding. (Photo: Courtesy photo)

An IsraAid volunteer suits up before heading into a mold-infested crawl space.An IsraAid volunteer suits up before heading into a mold-infested crawl space. (Photo: Courtesy photo)

A local resident snaps of the photo of the cleanup process.A local resident (left) snaps a photo of the cleanup process. (Photo: Courtesy photo)

IsraAid volunteers often stay for weeks after a disaster to help out.IsraAid volunteers often stay for weeks after a disaster to help out. (Photo: Courtesy photo)

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West Virginia flood relief comes from half a world away
When a historic natural disaster arrived, so did IsraAid, a humanitarian group from thousands of miles away.