The Jewish Federations of North America and American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee have launched fundraising campaigns to provide humanitarian aid to people in Turkey after the devastating earthquakes today.
Thousands have been killed in what officials are calling the worst quake to hit the region in decades. The initial one registered at a magnitude of 7.8 on the Richter scale, causing massive damage to buildings, homes and medical facilities in Turkey and Syria. An aftershock, which registered more than 7.5, exacerbated the destruction.
“We remain in close contact with our disaster relief partners on the ground and are mobilizing our communities to raise funds to support their life-giving work,” said Julie Platt, JFNA’s board chair.
The Jewish value of tikkun olam—repairing the world—guides the umbrella group “day in and day out to extend our hands to those in need, and Jewish Federations pledge to carry out this mandate with pride and dignity,” she added.
“We’ll move quickly together with the Turkish Jewish community and other partners to get aid to those most impacted by the earthquake, including local Jewish communities, knowing that the harsh winter season makes this aid all the more critical to people enduring the cold, homelessness, hunger, injury and despair,” said Ariel Zwang, CEO of JDC.
This work is “the ultimate expression of JDC’s timeless dedication to arevut, mutual responsibility, and tikkun olam, repair of a broken world,” she added.
The State of Israel announced that it is sending aid to the region.
IsraAID, which has provided relief in the aftermath of earthquakes in Haiti, Indonesia and elsewhere, said it too will assist.
“We are committed to using our extensive experience responding to earthquakes and other disasters around the world to serve vulnerable people, who have been affected by this crisis,” said Yotam Polizer, the nongovernmental humanitarian organization’s CEO. “We are urgently deploying an Emergency Response Team to the affected area” in Turkey, “and will be assessing the situation to see how we can best stand by these communities and promote resilience on the long road to recovery.”
According to the U.S. Geological Survey, the earthquake’s damage has reached a “red alert level” for its damage to lives and property.
“Overall, the population in this region resides in structures that are extremely vulnerable to earthquake shaking, though some resistant structures exist,” the USGC said. “The predominant vulnerable building types are unreinforced brick masonry and low-rise nonductile concrete frame with infill construction.”