When the news broke about the Champlain Towers collapse in Surfside, Florida, I was on the phone with a colleague from CADENA discussing the importance of cultivating a global network of Jewish humanitarians who are trained in emergency rescue, crisis prevention and disaster relief.
Within hours, CADENA had mobilized a go-team made up of young Jewish volunteers to be first responders at the scene, using the Life Locator Technology and the Finder (Life Detection System). The CADENA rescue team joined the Miami-Dade Urban Search and Rescue team on-site last Thursday afternoon, and have battled through the building’s instability, small fires, and difficult weather conditions as they continue in the desperate search for survivors.
As details of the rescue mission began to circulate internally, I realized that most of the rescue team are from Jewish communities in Latin America and that many of the victims and the missing are Jews of Hispanic backgrounds.
Erika Glanz, CADENA’s director of the international emergencies division, personally knows of four people missing. And, even though Glanz is used to coordinating the types of rescue teams like the one working in Surfside, this mission has an even greater sense of urgency for her and the growing number of CADENA volunteers who have joined efforts to contribute in any way they can.
While our rescue team has not found any living survivors, they are working tirelessly around the clock and not giving up hope. CADENA has also sent 20 psychologists to assist family members and surviving residents with post-trauma and grief counseling.
CADENA rescue teams have worked in the aftermath of earthquakes, hurricanes, and other humanitarian crises around the world. That included rescuing a survivor in Nepal who had been buried under rubble for seven days.
Leon Roy Hausmann, a board member of CADENA International, when interviewed by NPR, when speaking about the rescue in Nepal said, “Those are miracles. “I don’t want to create false expectations, but all I’m trying to say is that we still remain hopeful because that’s who we are.”
CADENA is a non-profit civil association dedicated to the prevention and assistance in crises and disasters around the world, delivering aid hand in hand directly to those most in need. CADENA works to activate and educate Jewish communities across the diaspora, linking a humanitarian focus to Jewish identity and responsibility. To date, CADENA’s global network of over 7,000 volunteers has participated in 1000 humanitarian response missions in 26 countries.
For more information about CADENA visit www.cadena.ngo
To contribute to CADENA’s efforts in Miami: https://donate.cadena.ngo/give/230527/#!/donation/checkout