In the aftermath of the destruction wrought by super Typhoon Haiyan in the , The American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee () has begun collecting funds for relief efforts. Responding to a quickly rising death toll and catastrophic destruction, 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, ‘s Chief Executive Officer. ‘These efforts are especially poignant for us given the ‘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 . has a history operating in the , 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, 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 ,’ a recently released documentary. It followed the remarkable story of how one family — the Frieders — together with the helped bring hundreds of European Jews to Manila, saving them from near certain death in the Holocaust.
‘s disaster relief programs are funded by special appeals of the Jewish Federations of North America and tens of thousands of individual donors to . coordinates its relief activities with the U.S. Department of State, USAID, Interaction, the Israeli Foreign Ministry, Israeli relief agencies, and the United Nations.
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.