(JNS.org) Jewish groups organized relief efforts following Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines, one of the most powerful storms ever recorded. Authorities said it is possible that more than 10,000 people died from the storm.
“We immediately activated our network of global partners and will leverage our previous experience in the region to provide immediate, strategic relief to survivors in their time of need,” Alan Gill, CEO of The American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC), said in a statement.
The Union for Reform Judaism (URJ) is collecting donations that will be distributed to aid groups working in affected areas.
“The URJ’s General Disaster Relief Fund enables the Reform Jewish community to respond quickly to all types of disasters, swiftly allocating funds directly to aid groups working in affected areas with the guidance of the Jewish Coalition for Disaster Relief (JCDR). Recent relief efforts have included hurricanes, floods and wildfires in North America, Haiti, and Sudan,” URJ Senior Vice President Rabbi Daniel Freelander told JNS.org in an email statement. JCDR is a JDC initiative.
Also collaborating with JDC is the Jewish Federations of North America (JFNA) umbrella. JFNA’s Emergency Committee “is coordinating the Federation response with JDC and its global disaster relief partners,” according to a press release.
“Our thoughts and prayers go out to the Filipino people suffering from this terrible storm’s unimaginable destruction,” said Cheryl Fishbein, chair of the JFNA Emergency Committee.
The American Jewish Committee and B’nai B’rith International are both contributing to Israeli relief organization IsraAID for humanitarian efforts to assist the victims of Typhoon Haiyan.
“It’s hard to even imagine the widespread devastation they’re experiencing in the Philippines. Each disaster has its own unique challenges and this one will truly be a giant undertaking,” B’nai B’rith President Allan J. Jacobs said in a statement.
The relief efforts “are especially poignant for us given the Philippines’s life-saving actions during the Second World War when the country offered safe haven to more than 1,000 Jewish refugees fleeing the Nazi onslaught,” said JDC’s Gill.
American Jewish World Service (AJWS) is also collecting disaster funds. “As Jews, we must act together to help those in need in the wake of the devastation wrought by Typhoon Haiyan,” Ruth Messinger, president of AJWS, told JNS.org in an email statement.
“We are asking American Jews and others to donate funds so that we can provide urgent aid to local groups in the Philippines that understand their own communities and what survivors need to recover from this heartbreaking disaster. By focusing our support on local Filipino groups, we are increasing the effectiveness of this effort and ensuring that Filipinos and the Philippines benefit as much as possible,” she said.
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