No celebration tonight.  No Chanuka candles.  Just a lot of sadness, a lot of concern.  And we sit glued to the television screens.

Less than 12 hours ago fire broke out in the forest around Haifa.  It is still raging out of control.  We haven’t had rain in months and months, it’s both dry and windy.  The death toll is over 40 now, and some are still missing.  Neighbouring towns and villages are being evacuated.  All national TV channels have stopped all programming and are covering the fire.  There are constant updates on more evacuations.  There has never been a disaster like this in Israel’s history.  The Prime Minister has asked for help from European countries, so far Cyprus and Greece are sending aid.  The Haifa mayor has canceled all holiday celebrations.  President Shimon Peres has said we are “praying for a miracle”.

The air smells like smoke.  The black cloud over the area blocked out the sun well before sunset.

I started taking pictures when we left work.  This is still 1-1/2 hours away:

And the smoke covers the sun:

Partner suggests packing a bag.  I really don’t believe it will be necessary.  And what on earth to pack???  I’m too busy watching the news anyway.

News stories from here and around the world:

Northern disaster: Mass evacuation ordered as fire rages on

Israel turns to U.S., Europe for help in controlling Carmel fire

42 killed in Carmel fire

Israel Calls for Urgent Help Fighting Lethal Fire

Israeli forest fire near Haifa kills 40

I don’t think we have taken in yet just what a tragedy this is.  I also pray for a miracle, for rain, for the safety of all those who are putting their lives on the line to fight this fire.  After all, Chanuka is a festival that celebrates a miracle.

Join your prayers with ours?


9 Responses to “Disaster”

  1. Beverly Says:

    Good thoughts going out to you, Chana.

  2. Nupur Says:

    How sad! Wishing that the fire stops and rain arrives.

  3. Laura B Says:

    I’ve had my house burn down and lost everything, including my two kittens–pack a bag! What would you do if you lost your pictures, all of them, your clothes (save for the ones on your back), your pets, your yarn, your everything? I pray it doesn’t come closer, but if it does, be as prepared as you can even though no one is ever really prepared to lose that much. Trust me when I tell you that it would be better to have your most precious loved ones and possessions then just what’s on your person. Be safe!

    • eclecticitee Says:

      Laura, I can’t even begin to imagine what you’ve gone through. I’ve spent a good part of the day just looking around my house, wondering what on earth I could carry with me…and it’s numbing.

      • Laura Bartlett Says:

        That’s a good way to put it at this stage of what you’re going through–numbing. I remember feeling that too. What happened in my life occurred several years ago and I have since moved on, but the thought of never again having that home base leaves a kind of hole in my heart to this day. You have to remind yourself that home is truly where the heart is. In the end, if you’re lucky enough to have wonderful friends, a strong family, passion for what you do, and a stern focus on what warms your heart in the midst of a chaotic world, you’ll find the capacity within yourself to survive whatever is hurled your way. But as for the packing, if I had been given the chance, I would have taken my cats first, my picture albumns next, then a couple changes of clothes, and finally all of the irreplaceable momentos given by loved ones, such as baby blankets, embroidered handkerchiefs, and great grandmothers’ lockets. You and your family and friends are in my thoughts and prayers. Remember there’s always a light at the opposite end of the tunnel and I know you’ll come to find it eventually.

  4. Courtney in Crete Says:

    Chana, I’m heartsick. It’s so sad about those prison wardens who perished. And the people of Beit Oren, who lost their entire community. Matt’s old boss Oren was likely evacuated from Denia. And I keep thinking of all the hikes and picnics we’ve taken in the forest, and the many times we’ve driven up the road from Atlit to the top of the mountain. I’m sad today too.

    I’m amazed that Turkey is sending fire fighting planes. Maybe there will be a warming in the Israel/Turkey relationship – something good from the fire?

    I can’t imagine you’d need to pack a bag, from your side of town… If so, then my old neighborhood, Ramat Begin, would be obliterated. It’s mind boggling.

    • eclecticitee Says:

      I remember the devastation from years ago, when 4,000 dunams of the forest was destroyed in another fire and we thought that it was such a disaster. Then it was terrorism, and after the fire hundreds of people came to picnic in the ashes, in a sort of defiance. It took so long for things to grow again. Now the destruction is 35,000 dunams and rising.

      I think everyone was amazed that Turkey immediately offered aid, and was one of the first to follow through. It is a good sign, I believe.

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