JDC is collecting funds to directly assist cyclone victims on a non-sectarian basis in immediate response to cyclone Nargis, which hit Myanmar on May 2-3. JDC has been coordinating activities with local, established international NGOs and working on a large-scale humanitarian aid effort in coordination with Israeli relief organizations. In the worst hit areas surrounding the Irrawaddy delta, where only local people and NGOs have been granted entry, JDC’s partners, Myanmar Compassion Project (MCP) and Karym Baptist Convention (KBC), are working to provide food and fresh water.

JDC has also established a partnership with World Concern, a Christian faith-based NGO from Seattle and members of InterAction that has worked in the country for 12 years and will be meeting with Buddhist representatives of local organizations and the United Nations Development Program (UNDP). JDC’s active partners in Israel include: MASHAV, The Israel Forum for International Humanitarian Aid (IsraAID) and Magen David Adom (MDAIsrael’s Red Cross, part of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement) as well as Fast Israel Rescue and Search Teams (F.I.R.S.T.) and Israeli Flying Aid, who work in full coordination and under the IsraAID umbrella.

The Jewish Coalition for Disaster Relief (JCDR), a coordinated group of North American Jewish organizations, has formed the Jewish Coalition for Myanmar Cyclone Relief and will meet on Monday, May 12 to discuss next steps. JDC representatives reported that the roof of Myanmar’s only synagogue has been completely destroyed and will need replacement. Five of the eight Jewish families in the region lost their homes.

“Similar to our response to the Tsunami in Southeast Asia, JDC has quickly mobilized to develop partnerships, assess damage, and to assist those devastated by this catastrophic disaster,” said Steve Schwager, Chief Executive Officer, JDC. “Now and in the months to come we will work to provide both immediate relief and long-term assistance to help the cyclone victims rebuild their lives,” he added.