Israeli diplomatic staff have been evacuated from Miami, as Hurricane Irma prepares to batter the Florida coast, according to current forecast models. The staff of four diplomats, including Israeli consul in Miami Lior Hayat, along with their families, have left for Atlanta. Still out of town is the Israeli consul in Houston, Gilad Katz, who fled the city last week in advance of Hurricane Harvey and has still not been able to return to his home or office.
The evacuation of the Miami staff was made after an emergency meeting of Foreign Ministry officials in Yerushalayim Thursday. The officials also discussed the ongoing Israeli assistance efforts in Texas, and made plans to provide similar assistance to Florida, if, chas v’shalom, the need should arise.
One thing that Israel may not be able to do is evacuate its citizens immediately from hurricane-affected areas, as transportation may be difficult, and available resources are reserved for rescue efforts. There are likely thousands of Israeli tourists and businesspeople in the areas already affected, and to be affected, by Irma. With Cuba likely the storm’s next target, the Ministry issued a message to Israelis to try and stay safe, and to follow the instructions of authorities in the event that the storm does hit. Israelis were also asked to register their whereabouts with local embassies and consulates, in order to enable the Foreign Ministry to track them down and provide assistance if needed after the storm.