ASUH PRESS RELEASE: University President announces emergency appeal for student safety and humanitarian support
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University of Haifa Serves As Emergency Central Command as Campus Evacuated in Wake of Devastating Forest Fires in Northern Israel
University President announces multi-million dollar
emergency appeal for student safety and humanitarian support
HAIFA, Israel, December 3, 2010 – Despite being evacuated amidst the dangerous forest fire in northern Israel, the University of Haifa is serving as Emergency Central Command for the police, firefighters, and Israel Defense Forces as well as for the media. The University campus and its buildings are directly located in the Carmel Mountains area where the fires are burning.
Meanwhile, the President of the University of Haifa, Aaron Ben-Ze’ev, has announced the establishment of a multi-million dollar emergency campaign to provide humanitarian support for the University community and to take measures to ensure the safety of its students and faculty.
“The fire threatening the Haifa area is a catastrophe of unprecedented proportions, for the University of Haifa and for the entire northern region,” Ben-Ze’ev said. “Our students and faculty live in the communities threatened and devastated by the fire, and the campus itself is vulnerable. We are taking emergency measures to protect the campus but will require the support of our friends to fully ensure the safety of the University community, now and in the future.”
Yesterday, shortly after the fire broke out, the University evacuated all its students and faculty from the campus in under two hours. Students with no immediate family in the area found homes with host families.
The University has identified four priority areas for safety and fire prevention on and off campus:
- In the event of a major emergency such as this, the University requires more effective and updated fire prevention technologies that promote safety on and off campus.
- The University needs to upgrade its public safety measures and evacuation strategies.
- The University Library, the second largest in Israel, requires updated fire protection and prevention technologies. The Library houses one of Israel’s most valuable book and manuscript collections.
- The Eshkol Tower – the main campus building standing 16 stories high – was one of the first buildings constructed on campus over 30 years ago and parts of its safety infrastructure need urgent renovation.
More than 40 people have died as a result of the blaze and Ben-Ze’ev extended condolences to the families of those who have lost their lives in this disaster.
The American Society of the University of Haifa (www.asuh.org) helps ensure the continued excellence of the educational, research, and community activities of the University of Haifa by serving as a vital connection between the University and its many friends in the United States.