ZAKA volunteers helping Guatemala rebuild
ZAKA volunteers helping Guatemala rebuild ZAKA

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 the financing and building of a new neighborhood of 100 units to provide homes for the evacuees.

Together with their colleagues from other international organizations, ZAKA volunteers raised the necessary funds and then helped in the actual construction of the neighborhood.

The new neighborhood is located some 90 minutes from Guatemala City and is close to the area most affected by the disaster. To date, dozens of the one-story homes have been completed and families have already begun to move in to the neighborhood.

The new neighborhood was named the "Jerusalem neighborhood," in honor of the many years of friendship between Guatemala and Israel, as well as the Guatemalan Embassy's recent move to Jerusalem.

ZAKA Chairman Yehuda Meshi-Zahav, who visited the site last week, said, "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 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.

In June, ZAKA's Guatemala unit implemented their training, helping the local emergency forces locate, rescue and recover survivors and victims from the disaster.