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JDC, Israeli Relief Teams Headed To Phillipines | The Jewish Week

JDC, Israeli Relief Teams Headed To Phillipines

During the buildup to World War II, JDC ensured the emigration of more than 1,000 European Jews escaping Nazi persecution to the island nation. The story of European Jews who took refuge was the subject of “Rescue in the Philippines,” a recently released documentary. It followed the remarkable story of how one family – the Frieders – together with the JDC helped bring hundreds of European Jews to Manila, saving them from near certain death in the Holocaust.

With the death toll in the Phillipines soaring, the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee has begun collecting aid for the thousands of lives ruined by Typhoon Haiyan over the weekend.

Representatives of the agency are also gearing up to assess the situation firsthand.

“Or team of disaster relief and development experts [will] assess damage, consult with local partners and the Jewish community, and see where our help will be most impactful, a JDC spokesman, Michel Geller, told The Jewish Week.

At the same time, an Israeli force of relief workers is to assist with medical and other needs.

Arutz Sheva, citing an announcement from Israel’s Foreign Ministry said a search and rescue team experienced in searching damaged buildings and a medical team would be dispatched to the area.

Also, the Israeli disaster relief organization IsraAid is sending an emergency response team.

The nonprofit group’s team of medical professionals and trauma and relief specialists are scheduled to arrive in the Philippines  Monday, working primarily in Tacloban City in Leyte. A larger team is expected to land by the end of the week, according to IsraAid.

Typhoon Haiyan, possibly the most severe storm in recorded history, battered the Phillipines with winds of up to 195 mph, leaving a trail of destruction in multiple provinces, forcing hundreds of thousands to evacuate and making travel by air and land to hard-hit provinces difficult. Around 10,000 people are feared dead, and at least half a million people have been left homeless.

“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,” said Alan H. Gill, JDC’s chief executive officer.

“These 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. It is our privilege today to honor that historic debt.”

As damage reports and casualty rates continue to grow, hundreds of thousands of Filipinos remain inaccessible, without power and shelter in the wake of Haiyan, called Typhoon Yolanda in the Philippines, according to JDC.

The American Jewish World Service also launched a relief fund. “Towns and villages are leveled. There is no water to drink or food to eat,” said the group on its website. “We are collecting funds to provide urgent aid to local groups in the Philippines that know their communities and what they need to help survivors. ”

The organization already has a history operating in the Philippine after having assisted with post-typhoon cholera through an Israeli partner in 2009 and working to enhance emerging Jewish community life through the inclusion of the Filipino Jewish community members in pan-Asian Jewish events.

During the buildup to World War II, JDC ensured the emigration of more than 1,000 European Jews escaping Nazi persecution to the island nation. The story of European Jews who took refuge was the subject of “Rescue in the Philippines,” a recently released documentary. It followed the remarkable story of how one family – the Frieders – together with the JDC helped bring hundreds of European Jews to Manila, saving them from near certain death in the Holocaust.

JDC’s disaster relief programs are funded by special appeals of the Jewish Federations of North America and tens of thousands of individual donors to JDC. JDC coordinates its relief activities with the U.S. Department of State, USAID, Interaction, the Israeli Foreign Ministry, Israeli relief agencies, and the United Nations.

JDC has provided immediate relief and long-term assistance to victims of natural and manmade disasters around the globe, including Haiti, Japan, and South Asia after the Indian Ocean Tsunami, and continues to operate programs designed to rebuild infrastructure and community life in disaster-stricken regions.

To make a Contribution go to  www.jdc.org, or call 212-687-6200/

Checks, sent by mail, may be sent to JDC Typhoon Haiyan Relief, P.O. Box 4124. New York, NY 10163.

To donate to the American Jewish World Service fund, make checks payable to: American Jewish World Service, 5 West 36th Street, 11th floor  New York, NY 10018-7904, or call 212.792.2900.

via JDC, Israeli Relief Teams Headed To Phillipines | The Jewish Week.

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