The American Federation of Ramallah, Palestine (AFRP) has launched a humanitarian campaign to support the victims of Hurricane Harvey that hit Houston, as a symbol of compassion and support from the Palestinian and Arab-American communities in particular to all those who were affected by this disaster.
The heaviest tropical rainfall ever recorded in the continental US, Hurricane Harvey, initially made landfall as a Category 4 hurricane in Texas on 25 August, before going back out to sea. 39 people were killed and tens of thousands have been made homeless in widespread floods.
A number of activists and members of the AFRP spoke about the campaign, which was launched for more than one reason, the most important of which being the need to support the community and strengthen it, whether legally or economically due to the damage they suffered from.
President of the Federation, Dr. Hanna Hanania, said that the Palestinian people, who suffered the consequences of displacement, are fully aware of the importance of helping all those affected by these floods and hurricanes.
The campaign was launched to express solidarity and solidarity with all those affected by these floods which led to a humanitarian disaster that hit the American people in all its components.” Hanania said during the launch of the initiative.
Hanania stressed that the campaign that the campaign does not differentiate between the members of the American community in Houston, but rather seeks to help everyone based on the values and culture of the Palestinians who were raised on helping others in their homelands and in the diaspora.
Hanania said that the campaign includes three stages, the first is fundraising for the support of the community in the first class place and all those affected by this climate natural disaster, adding that tens of thousands of Palestinian-American live in Houston.
Hanania gave condolences to a Palestinian family whose daughter passed away in the floods. who lost a family member.
The second part of the campaign also includes providing shelter and medical support for those who need it, especially in the conditions after the hurricane and floods. The third part of the campaign is reconstruction of destroyed homes and business.
The community will have volunteers and activists who will work closely with the families to help them know their rights and contact insurance companies and make applications to get support on properties and others, in addition to calls for cooperation and support from all people who can provide it.
To his part, said Palestinian activist and member of the administrative body of the federation, Yacoub Zayed said he immediately called the federation president to hold an emergency meeting to discuss the allocation of Palestinian families in Houston and to provide help to affected Palestinian families.
Zayed who was appointed to lead the relief effort stressed that this help carries a very important message to humanity, and the need for people to stand by each other during such times, pointing out that this was part of the federation’s mission to help those in need, added to different aids including scholarships and grants, which hit two million dollars during the last month alone.
For his part, vice president of the Federation, George Habib, said that the 60-year-old federation declared a state of alert and emergency from the first moment of the hurricane and floods, pointing out that it represents 40,000 Palestinians from the city of Ramallah who live in the United States of America and it has close and distinguished relations with all institutions Including the Palestinian diplomatic mission in Washington.
The Houston relief initiative is the first initiative by a foreign institution or community in the United States, but it is not the first of its kind held by the federation,” Habib said, mentioning a similar campaign by the federation years ago when Hurricane Katrina hit the U.S.
Habib stressed that the Federation coordinated and coordinated its steps with the Palestinian diplomatic mission “Embassy” and with Ambassador Hossam Zumlot, who continues and communicates with the Federation and the community especially in Houston in order to support them and help them.
The members of the Palestinian community in Houston expressed their deep appreciation for the initiative and the support of the Federation after the physical and emotional damage they suffered after the hurricane.
Palestinian human and women rights activists, Wafa Baba, who is also a member of the federation and coordinator in the 59th conference in Houston, said that “The Palestinians in Houston appreciate the initiative of the Federation and its efforts to provide support and communication, noting that this step gave them a sense of high level of responsibility, and pointed out responsibilities for the Federation and its management, added to medical missions, aids, equipment and grants to university students and training for doctors, but the Federation affirmed that it is the home of all Palestinians in the United States of America.
Baba stressed that the Palestinian women have a big role in the United States of America, where they can convey and express the position and the Palestinian opinion wherever they went in their work. It is also part of the American society now, and is able to convey the image and work for Palestine and its cause. On their culture and cohesion with their society, explaining that women are highly present in the relief campaign in Houston as well.