The Jewish Response to Typhoon Haiyan

As the scope of the catastrophic destruction from Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines continues to unfold, the Jewish community has joined in the emergency response to aid the millions directly affected by one of the strongest storms on record.

For funders, it is a question not only of how to help, but to ensure their money is getting to where it’s needed most. In parts of the Philippines, the answer is spread over hundreds of square miles.

It’s needed everywhere.

The typhoon killed thousands and left survivors in an increasingly desperate hunt for food and water after entire towns and cities were laid to waste by winds of up to 195 mph and massive storm surges.

Jewish groups that often work in disaster zones have mobilized relief efforts that will be complicated by roads made inaccessible by the storm, no electricity, and limited air service. They include the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee, which is sending disaster relief teams to assess the situation and will also ship a container of food, medical, and hygiene supplies. One of the team members is descended from a German Jewish family who found safe haven in the Philippines, which welcomed some 1,000 Jews in the buildup to World War II.

In addition to donations from foundations, the JDC is receiving money collected by Jewish federations in North America. You can help the JDC effort here.

Also active in the Philippines is American Jewish World Service, which has a deep well of experience providing humanitarian aid for immediate needs, while also offering support for recovery over the long term. AJWS is accepting donations here.

A seven-member medical team from the Israeli relief group IsraAID is in the Philippines, as concerns grow about disease outbreaks in the hardest-hit regions because of contaminated water supplies. A 148-member medical detachment from the Israel Defense Forces has also been sent. Donations to IsraAID can be made here.

“It is best to work with groups like these directly as they are seasoned hands in disaster relief, and know what supplies and personnel are most needed. That’s why cash donations are best. Donations of goods or services that, however well-intentioned, may not address immediate needs,” said Andres Spokoiny, JFN President and CEO.