A laborer surveys the damage to his farm in northern Mato Grosso State, south in the Amazon basin in Brazil, after fires raged through the region in late August. A laborer surveys the damage to his farm in northern Mato Grosso State, south in the Amazon basin in Brazil, after fires raged through the region in late August. A laborer surveys the damage to his farm in northern Mato Grosso State, south in the Amazon basin in Brazil, after fires raged through the region in late August. (Photo: JOAO LAET/AFP/Getty Images)

Israel is sending help to Brazil in wake of Amazon fires

Aid will include an airplane and a team of pilots to fight the blazes threatening the coveted rainforest.

As fires continue to ravage the world's largest tropical rainforest, Israel is offering support to fight the blaze, according to Brazil's president, Jair Bolsonaro.

The leaders of both countries discussed a plan to send Israeli airplanes and pilots experienced in fighting fires to the Amazon, which is known as "the lungs of the planet" due to its ability to absorb a significant amount of the world's carbon dioxide supply.

The offer comes in response to international alarm over the devastating fires in the region. A few other South American countries, including Colombia and Chile, have pledged support.

Israel, for its part, has a long history of dispatching international help in times of crisis. When a youth soccer team in Thailand became stranded in a cave, Israel's aid came in the form of mobile communication technology that works in places where there are no cell phone networks.

It's also sent much-needed aid in the aftermath of natural disasters. In September 2017, a company called Camero rushed to the scene after a devastating earthquake in Mexico with a device that enabled first responders to find and rescue people trapped under rubble.

Israel's nonprofit rescue group, IsraAid, has been deployed to disaster and crisis areas around the world, including Nepal, where an earthquake in 2015 toppled buildings, and India, where flooding killed hundreds of people.

 IsraAID volunteers pass bricks along to clear the rubble leftover from the earthquake that shook Nepal on April 25, 2015. (Photo: IsraAID/Mickey Noam Alon) IsraAID volunteers pass bricks along to clear the rubble leftover from the earthquake that shook Nepal on April 25, 2015. (Photo: IsraAID/Mickey Noam Alon)

The Israeli workers of IsraAid often stay for weeks, even months, after a disaster to help out. Teams were sent to two devastated regions in southern California after wildfires there in 2018 to support recovery processes for survivors. In 2017, IsraAID responded to wildfires in Sonoma County, California, distributing relief supplies and strengthening children's well-being.

After severe flooding in West Virginia damaged more than 1,000 homes in 2016, IsraAid's volunteers assisted in cleanup and reconstruction. They also stayed for weeks to help rebuild structures after Hurricane Florence hit North Carolina in 2018.

"I'd like to think we are helping people help themselves, so that when we have to leave, they are stronger and more capable than they were before we arrived," Navonel Glick, IsraAid's co-CEO, told From The Grapevine in 2017.

IsraAid workers helped clean up damaged houses after Hurricane Florence. IsraAid workers helped clean up damaged houses after Hurricane Florence. (Photo: Courtesy IsraAID)

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Israel is sending help to Brazil in wake of Amazon fires
Aid will include an airplane and a team of pilots to fight the blazes threatening the coveted rainforest.