In May of 2013, NECHAMA – Jewish Response to Disaster responded to the devastating tornadoes that hit Central Oklahoma. Thanks to two donated flights from American Airlines, NECHAMA's essential staff was able to get on the ground quickly to begin assessing damage and coordinating volunteers.
Within days, they were at work bringing comfort to survivors during a difficult time and helping homeowners clear debris, cut up downed trees, and gut and demolish unsafe structures. NECHAMA’s unique stock of tools and equipment gave us the ability to do difficult demolitions jobs, which posed a huge financial and emotional burden for homeowners.
Much of the nation’s attention focused on the destruction in Moore, OK, where an EF-4 tornado ripped through densely populated neighborhoods, destroying more than 1,000 homes. The outpouring of support from local and national groups to this area was inspiring and allowed NECHAMA to focus their initial response on places that received less media attention. After identifying Shawnee and Newalla as underserved and in need, they made their way out to these rural areas to help homeowners clear debris and sort through lost possessions.
In Moore, OK, NECHAMA found their niche, gutting homes with rainwater damage from holes in the roof caused by flying debris. When the International Harvest Church of Moore found its basement flooded with water, volunteers were quickly able to answer the call for help and pump it out. When the church needed more space to store the food and supplies donated to help their community, NECHAMA and their partners built shelves and helped organize the distribution center.
With the help of AIRLINK and American Airlines, their staff to arrived quickly and the organization was able to help those who needed it most.
- 32 homes gutted and rebuilt
- Assisted in demolition and debris-clearing
- Organized a local distribution center for food and supplies