The American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC), an overseas humanitarian aid organization working in over 70 countries, today announced that it is collecting funds on a non-sectarian basis for relief efforts following the 6.5-magnitude earthquake which struck southwest Pakistan yesterday morning. The earthquake has left hundreds dead and thousands homeless and JDC will be working with the International Blue Crescent—a partner in JDC’s efforts following the 2005 Pakistani earthquake—to deliver immediate relief supplies to the hardest-hit areas. The efforts are part of JDC’s International Development Program (IDP), which provides immediate relief and long-term assistance for natural and manmade disasters.

“Thanks to our strong partnerships in the region and around the world, JDC is well-positioned to respond quickly to the needs of the victims of this disaster. It is our long-standing mission to provide as much help as possible for people whose lives have been suddenly devastated, be it by supplying food, medicines, and blankets or rebuilding schools and homes,” said Steve Schwager, Chief Executive Officer, JDC.

JDC and its partners worldwide have implemented similar relief efforts and continue to operate programs designed to rebuild infrastructure and community life in regions that have experienced natural and manmade disasters. Recently mobilizing to aid victims of the conflict in Georgia, JDC was among the first humanitarian aid organizations on the ground providing basic necessities and helping evacuate Jews from the war zone. In May of this year, JDC entered Myanmar’s Irrawaddy Delta to immediately provide water, food, and medical supplies to victims of Cyclone Nargis. JDC has since partnered with local NGOs to rebuild the affected region’s schools and homes.

JDC’s non-sectarian programs are funded by the generous donations of individuals and foundations; UJC/Federation annual campaigns are not used for JDC non-sectarian activities.