Minnesota disaster relief team readies for Hurricane Florence

- One of the few Minnesota-based organizations that has disaster relief teams stationed across the country is prepared to help in a moment’s notice.

The folks at Nechama Minnesota have gone to New Orleans, Houston and Puerto Rico. They specialize in picking up the pieces after homes have been destroyed.

“These are some of our brand new solar power generators we are going to be using them out in the field for the first time,” said David Kaplan, the Executive Director of Nechama, the Jewish response to disaster.

Wednesday, Kaplan walked through his organization’s storage space making a checklist of the supplies he has and what he’ll need.

“This is a big part of what we’re known for,” Kaplan said. “We go out and knock down trees a lot.”

Kaplan and his team go into natural disaster ridden communities and re-build homes and their teams have been all over.

Some are still in Houston and Puerto Rico picking up the pieces after hurricanes Harvey and Maria decimated cities last year.

“We do what is called muck and gut in the aftermath of a storm like this flood waters enter people’s home,” he said. “That water isn’t your typical bath water. It’s mixed with trash, debris."

Teams are being assembled right now to load up the trucks and head southeast near the Carolinas on Sunday. They must wait until the storm hits before they give a hand to people who sometimes lose nearly everything.

 “When you’re doing muck and gut work, you’re going through people’s lives and that’s really the hardest part,” Kaplan said. “You’re collecting these goods and you just have to explain to them. You just can’t.”

To volunteer or donate to Nechama, visit nechama.org

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