An inferno raged across the Carmel Forest for four days. Over 5 million trees were consumed. 12,300 acres of land was destroyed. 17,000 people were evacuated. Three communities were totally wiped out including a kibbutz and one of the country's oldest artist colonies. 219 people were left homeless. And 42 lost their lives in the fire.
Fire has once again defined the region of Mount Carmel in the north of Israel where Elijah once called down fire from Heaven (1 Kings 18) against the false prophets of Baal. But this time it was a man-made disaster.
On December 2nd a 14 year-old Druze boy was smoking a hookah pipe with his three friends in the Carmel forest. When they were done, he threw out the coal from the pipe into the woods. When the coal touched the bone dry trees leeched of moisture by severe drought, they immediately went up in flames. The children panicked and ran away without telling anyone. This is how Israel's worst disaster in 40 years started.
Many countries around the world sent special fire-fighting equipment and volunteers helped Israel to eventually defeat the blaze, but with the flames gone already the world's attention is shifting elsewhere. But for so many who have lost their homes, businesses or loved ones, their pain is just beginning.
Vision for Israel says it is determined to stay and help for as long as it takes to meet the needs created by this terrible disaster and see that the beauty of Mount Carmel will rise again from the ashes. Some communities have literally lost everything.
" We are working closely with a youth village populated mostly with Russian orphans. The children and staff need everything from shoes and blankets to school supplies like books and colored pencils. And Vision for Israel is also planting new trees in the region so that the once legendary beauty of the Carmel Forest will be available for the next generation ," Barry Segel said.
Steve Strang said: "Please join us in the process of comforting the people and rebuilding the land. Together we can be vessels of God's love for the people of the region and custodians of this land so rich in Biblical history.
To contribute to our emergency Israel Fire Relief campaign, go to christianlifemissions.com/israelfirerelief. Or you can send a check made payable to Christian Life Missions (marked for “Israel Fire Relief”) to 600 Rinehart Road, Lake Mary, FL 32746.