The American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC) is responding to the Aug. 14  earthquake that struck southwestern Haiti by providing critically needed medical supplies—surgical instruments, fluids, IV starters, sutures, gloves, masks, face shields and clean linens—to local hospitals treating the wounded.

The 7.2-magnitude event and its aftershocks flattened thousands of homes, businesses and other buildings as the resulting death toll reached an estimated 1,300 as of Sunday night.

JDC is working through its longtime partner, the Afya Foundation, to ship materials to a hospital in the city of Aquin. As the extent of the damage unfolds, JDC, which has worked in Haiti since 2010, continues to assess emerging needs and is raising additional funds to address them.

“We are heartbroken over the tragic loss of life in Haiti and send our prayers to a people and nation in mourning yet again,” said JDC CEO Ariel Zwang. “As we have done so many times in the past, we’ll be there to offer care, healing and opportunities to empower Haitians to build back better and safer. It’s all the more fitting, and poignant, that we are doing this work during the Jewish month of Elul, when we engage in introspection and work to mend the broken parts of our personal and collective lives.”

The agency’s work in Haiti includes its long-term responses to the 2010 earthquake and Hurricane Matthew in 2016. In addition to providing emergency needs such as food, water and medical care, its programs reach hundreds of thousands of people by addressing health care for women and children; care for people with disabilities; rebuilding infrastructure (schools, hospitals); disaster preparedness; employment; and empowering social-service leadership and local nonprofits.

JDC also had a historic presence in Haiti dating to the World War II period. Haiti allowed Jews fleeing the Nazis to settle on the island, and JDC provided care to those refugees and to others who found safe haven in the Dominican Republic with JDC’s help.

Disaster-relief programs are funded by special appeals of the Jewish Federations of North America and tens of thousands of individual donors. Relief activities are coordinated with the U.S. Department of State, USAID, the Israeli government and the United Nations, as well as local and international partners.

JDC and its partners have recently responded to the coronavirus pandemic in Africa and Asia, as well as natural disasters in Mozambique, the Bahamas, Guatemala, Indonesia and Mexico. The group continues its post-disaster development work in the Philippines and Haiti, and leads the Jewish Coalition for Disaster Relief (JCDR) made up of 49 mostly North American Jewish organizations that address disasters and development challenges worldwide.

Click here to support JDC’s efforts in Haiti.

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