Post flood support in Ballater includes international aid

As communities across Aberdeenshire recover from flooding that affected many areas from Inverurie, Ellon to Ballater volunteers and council staff have been out in full force to support people move back to their homes, recover businesses and repair infrastructure.

Aberdeenshire Provost Hamish Vernal, Co Leaders Councillor Martin Kitts-Hayes, Councillor Richard Thomson and Chief Executive Jim Savege have been visiting areas affected by flooding to meet volunteers, residents and staff.

Many rivers reached record levels during the recent severe weather including the River Dee which overflowed and caused significant damage to homes and businesses and led to rest centres and support centres being set up to help people.

Support has also been provided to residents in Ballater and Braemar from the Scottish Flood Forum, local churches as well as a range of local residents and businesses offering their time. Volunteers have also come from far-flung locations to help out.

Provost Vernal visited Ballater last week (Thursday, January 14) to welcome and thank volunteers from an Israeli humanitarian charity called IsraAid who flew in to help with UK flood recovery efforts.

A team of five volunteers came to Deeside following a request from an Alford resident who saw support provided in Yorkshire and asked for help.

The volunteers worked alongside other local volunteers in Ballater last week to distribute donated items as well as clear out properties and the caravan park that suffered flood damage.

The IsraAid team said they were impressed by the resilient community spirit and appreciated Provost Hamish Vernal and the Chief Executive of Aberdeenshire Council Jim Savege thanking them personally for their assistance. 

Provost Hamish Vernal said: “It is at times like these we really see how people pull together in times of need and I know that a great deal of effort has taken place across the Marr area to provide support to people affected by flooding.

“To see charities like IsraAid come to Ballater to support people recover is fantastic and I thank the volunteers as well as all of those individuals and organisations here and across Aberdeenshire that are working hard to help.”

Embassy of Israel in the UK Charge D’affaires Eitan Na’eh said: “We are thrilled that IsraAid is putting its valuable experience to good use in Scotland, assisting local communities in repairing flood damage.

“IsraAid has been providing assistance in areas afflicted with natural disasters and humanitarian crises around the world, and we are proud of their good work.  Given the strong ties between our two countries, it’s only natural that Israelis are lending a hand in this challenge to our friends in the UK.”

IsraAid volunteer Yoav said: "The homes and businesses in Ballater have been very badly affected. We've been clearing up houses and helping people fix up their homes, the fields and streets.

"We were happy to help with whatever they wanted us to do and are glad that we came here." He added: "It's nice to make people smile again." 

Centre for Scotland and Israel Relations Director Ruth Kennedy said: “Ballater and the surrounding areas have experienced so much destruction from the flooding. Unfortunately the effects continue long after the waters have receded. It has been wonderful to see such a compassionate response from IsraAid to our country and the friendship between our two countries strengthened.” 

IsraAid provides emergency relief and assistance around the world through a mission to efficiently support and meet the changing needs of populations as they strive to move from crisis to reconstruction, rehabilitation and sustainable living.