(JNS.org) Jewish organizations across the United States have been working over the weekend to dispatch relief aid to victims of Hurricane Matthew, which has left at least 17 people dead in the southeastern U.S. and killed hundreds in the Caribbean.
The Jewish Federations of North America started a nationwide emergency relief campaign to support thousands left homeless.
Chabad-Lubavitch emissaries in communities in North Carolina and Florida prepared disaster plans as soon as evacuations were ordered on Thursday and Friday ahead of the storm.
Over the weekend, Chabad volunteers provided Shabbat meals to local residents, makeshift shelters for students, and offered use of a Chabad House generator for those who needed power for medical equipment.
The American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC) is helping hundreds of hurricane victims in Haiti by providing hygiene kits, water purification tablets and dispatched its veteran disaster relief experts and emergency field medics to help with emergency care.
"As the death toll in Haiti continues to rise, our efforts to aid the hardest-hit communities are vital as needs like shelter, food, water, medicine and medical services have dramatically increased," said Mandie Winston, director of JDC's International Development Program "Our response is especially crucial as concerns about the public health situation and fear of diseases like cholera continue to further underline the need for rapid care of the most vulnerable victims."
JDC has partnered with Heart to Heart International and UNICEF to ensure hygiene and water relief to the most impacted areas in the south of Haiti, now under threat of a cholera outbreak due to widespread flooding.