I know we are all saddened by the devastation Typhoon Haiyan has visited on the Philippines. The news gets worse and worse. We grieve for the lives lost in this terrible storm and pray for those who are injured or displaced. Our tradition teaches that all humanity are brethren, and that we have an obligation to relieve suffering wherever it is found. This obligation is heightened in light of the devastation in the Philippines. We cannot sit silently in the light of such death and destruction.
The need for relief funds is very great. Please consider making a donation to the relief fund established by the JDC (American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee). The JDC's response to disasters is always nimble and well coordinated with local authorities and aid groups. Please use the link below to contribute to the JDC's efforts to ameliorate the suffering of our neighbors.
The JDC and the world stood by Japan in in March 2011 following the earthquake and tsunami, now it is again our turn to step-up and support the people of the Philippines.
Rabbi David A. Kunin
Press Release from the JDC
New York, NY, November 9, 2013 – In the aftermath of the destruction wrought by super Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines, The American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC) has begun collecting funds for relief efforts. Responding to a quickly rising death toll and catastrophic destruction, JDC staff experts are consulting with local authorities, the Filipino Jewish community, and global partners to assess the unfolding situation on the ground and ensure survivors’ immediate needs are addressed. The typhoon, one of the strongest storms in recorded history, caused widespread damage to the island nation, especially the hardest-hit central city of Tacloban, and is barreling its way towards Vietnam.
“Our heartfelt prayers go out to the Filipino people in the wake of yesterday’s deadly 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,” 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. JDC has a history operating in the Philippines, previously helping to fight 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.