“Share your food with the hungry, and give shelter to the homeless.” Isaiah 58:7
Jerusalem, August 2, 2018 – Following the recent devastating volcanic eruption in Guatemala which destroyed so many homes, ZAKA Commander in Guatemala and rabbi of the local Jewish community, Rabbi Yosef Garmon initiated an alliance of international organizations to help finance and build a new neighborhood of 100 units to provide homes for the evacuees. The ZAKA volunteers, together with their colleagues from the other international organizations, raised the necessary funds and then helped in the actual construction of the neighborhood, located some 90 minutes from Guatemala City and close to the area most affected by the disaster. To date, dozens of the one-storey homes have been completed and families have already begun to move in to the neighborhood.
As a practical expression and appreciation of the many years of true friendship between Guatemala and Israel and the recent move of the Guatemala Embassy to Jerusalem, it was decided to name the new neighborhood: The Jerusalem neighborhood.
ZAKA Chairman Yehuda Meshi-Zahav, who visited the site last week, noted: “It was amazing to see dozens of volunteers from the ZAKA Guatemala Unit, which was established only a few months ago, working on the physical construction of the apartments for the very same people they had helped locate and rescue in the aftermath of the volcano. This shows the beautiful face of Israel. It was very moving to see the ZAKA yellow vests spreading light and hope for the people of Guatemala. ”
The ZAKA Guatemala unit was established in February 2018, when 45 volunteers from the local Jewish community and representatives from the local emergency services underwent an intensive ZAKA training course in light search and rescue. It was only a few months later, in June, that the ZAKA Guatemala unit implemented their training, helping the local emergency forces locate, rescue and recover survivors and victims from the disaster.