In response to the devastating floods in Serbia and Bosnia and Herzegovina, the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC), together with the Federation of Jewish Communities in Romania (Fedrom), dispatched 5 aid convoys carrying 15 tons of aid for victims of the devastating floods in Serbia and Bosnia last week. Packed and prepared by the Jewish communities of Bucharest and Timisoara, the convoys carried supplies — including food, personal hygiene products, water, milk, powdered milk, diapers, liquid soap, bedding and replacement furniture — for flood victims in Belgrade, Doboj, and Banja Luka. Additionally, JDC worked with its local partners as part of its Women’s Health Empowerment Program (WHEP) in Bosnia to reach Roma victims in remote locations.
‘We immediately responded to the news that flooding had left countless people without basic necessities and shelter, as we have done many times in the past when natural disasters have struck communities in Europe,’ said Diego Ornique, JDC’s incoming Europe Regional Director. ‘We’re especially proud that in this moment of tremendous need, we could partner with the Jewish communities of Romania, Serbia, and Bosnia to bring life-saving aid to those who need it most.’
As news of the floods emerged, JDC immediately activated its emergency response network and reached out to the Serbian and Bosnian Jewish communities, as well as its WHEP partners, to assess the needs of the most severly impacted people in the flood zones. The aid is being distributed among the most needy victims including individual Jewish families in Jewish communities in Doboj and Banja Luka.
There are some 3,000 Jews living in Serbia today where JDC provides critical services to the Jews in need including food, clothing, home visits and medical care. It also helps cultivate Jewish life by supporting Jewish leadership gatherings and education in Serbia and throughout the Balkans. Additionally, JDC engages in similar social service and Jewish community development work with Bosnia and Herzegovina’s 1,100 Jews, mostly located in Sarajevo.
Now celebrating its 100th year, JDC remains the essential global Jewish humanitarian organization, putting into action the precept that all Jews are responsible for one another and for all humankind. The organization’s ten decades of rescue, poverty alleviation, Jewish community development, leadership training and cultivation, social innovation, and disaster relief work has benefitted millions of people and transformed countless lives in Israel and more than 90 countries since its founding in 1914 at the outset of WW1.