The scope of the post-Typhoon Haiyan catastrophe in the Philippines continues to grow as fresh reports come in of massive loss of life and unimaginable devastation. Evan as our thoughts and prayers are with those who have been so terribly affected, there is an urgent need for humanitarian assistance and the financial means to provide it.
You may have seen reports in the media of massive resources being moved to that region by the United States — the USS George Washington carrier battle group — and by the State of Israel, which has deployed hundreds of physicians and other medical providers staffing a comprehensive IDF mobile hospital including operating rooms and an intensive care unit. Other countries are providing resources as well and each of us also has the ability to contribute through the Joint Distribution Committee (JDC), which is collecting funds on behalf of the Jewish community.
The JDC reports that it has dispatched its own all-too-experienced disaster relief professionals to assess the needs in the disaster zone, as well as working with the IDF, Magen David Adom, Israel’s Embassy in the Philippines, UNICEF and other organizations.
The JDC advises that it will allocate funds in the following manner:
One third of funding (depending upon the amount of money raised) to immediate relief — food, water, shelter, medical assistance and then a longer term focus upon developing sustainable projects with vulnerable populations that have been impacted by the disaster.
Such programs can include infrastructure — the reconstruction of schools, hospitals, playgrounds that have been destroyed, and an additional set of programs that include training and capacity building through community development, psychosocial/post trauma, education, focusing upon the most vulnerable populations, children, elderly, women and people with disabilities.
Wherever possible priority is given to working with local partners to build capacity and ensure sustainability. Where appropriate the JDC will use Israeli expertise, as well as utilize JDC’s in-house expertise.
The Philippines, a country that was nearly unique among nations in opening its doors to escapees from the Holocaust, needs our help now. Please give generously.