For Dennis Almorin and his family, Typhoon Haiyan meant losing everything, from their home to his fishing boat. In the aftermath, the Almorins had to borrow a friend’s boat, split the catch just to earn a living and scrape by on donated food and clothing. But today, nearly a year after the devastation, Dennis is the owner of a new fishing boat and is back to work through the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee and local partner NVC’s program restoring employment to local fisherman on the island of Lat-Asan. Over the past 12 months, JDC has invested over $1.5m of $2.7 million raised from the Jewish Federations of North America and tens of thousands of individual donors in rebuilding classrooms and schools, restoring local fishing businesses, offering medical and psychological help, and facilitating disaster preparedness. These projects, and initial emergency work, have directly benefitted more than 15,000 people across the archipelago.’Of all the things we have learned from decades of disaster relief work, it’s the priceless ability of a disaster survivor to support him or herself when all seems lost. It has positive ripple effects for families and communities desperate to rebuild and we are proud of the work we are doing in the Philippines to restore a sense of normalcy and hope,’ said Mandie Winston, director of JDC’s International Development Program. ‘At a time when so much of the world is in crisis, our work in the Philippines is a reminder that people can transform lives in the face of overwhelming odds -; this is especially heartening given our historic partnership with the island nation that saved Jewish lives during WWII.’In the days and weeks after the typhoon hit, JDC delivered food, medicine, sanitary kits and tents to locals in a race against time. Once the situation stabilized, JDC’s humanitarian work entered a second, longer phase helping the region recover. Funds have been spent on immediate relief (24%), rebuilding and repairing schools (27%), psychological support (16%), restoring livelihoods (23%) and disaster preparedness (10%).According to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, (UN-OCHA), a total of 2,189 classrooms were damaged, affecting about 100,000 pupils. JDC sought to mitigate the damage by building 12 new classrooms at two elementary schools in northern Cebu, allowing 1,200 children to resume studies. It also renovated four preschools on Panay Island, now serving 500 children, and will finish building two new preschools in the coming months.JDC is also in the process of replacing fishing boats on Panay, where thousands of fisherman have lost their livelihoods. To date, and with a greater distribution planned in the near future, more than a dozen catamarans have been handed over to 17 fishermen. JDC has also deployed a delegation of post-trauma experts from the Israel Trauma Coalition (ITC) to help locals come to terms with their loss. The ITC team is building on experience they gained working with JDC in Haiti and Japan over the past five years.JDC is also helping local communities on Bohol and Panay Islands impacted by the Typhoon better prepare for disasters by providing disaster risk reduction workshops that map and assess risks, helping local governments develop appropriate protocol. On Panay, this includes a track that will enhance local capacity to mainstream and offer people with disabilities social service support and supplies. JDC’s invaluable partners in the Philippines are the IDF Field Hospital and the Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Afya Foundation, Catholic Relief Services, UNICEF, Magen David Adom (MDA), the International Medical Corps (IMC), the International Rescue Committee (IRC), the Israel Trauma Coalition, the International Institute for Rural Reconstruction (IIRR), the Center for Disaster Preparedness, the Ramon Aboitiz Foundation (RAFI), Balay Mindanaw, AGAAP, Negrenese Volunteers for Change (NVC), NORFIL, and the Jewish Association of the Philippines.During the buildup to World War II, JDC together with local Jews and the Filipino government ensured the emigration of more than 1,000 European Jews escaping Nazi persecution to the island nation. JDC awarded its Or L’Olam — Light Unto the World — Award to the Philippines for its heroic role in the rescue of the Jewish refugees as part of the kickoff of JDC’s Centennial celebrations in Washington, DC.Now celebrating its 100th year, JDC remains the leading Jewish humanitarian organization, putting into action the precept that all Jews are responsible for one another and humankind. Its ten decades of rescue, poverty alleviation, Jewish community development, Jewish leadership training and cultivation, social innovation, and disaster and crisis relief work have benefitted millions of people and transformed countless lives in Israel and 90 countries, at its peak.
One Year After Typhoon Haiyan, JDC Philippines Efforts Restore Hope
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JDC — the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee or “The Joint” — is the leading Jewish humanitarian organization, working in 70 countries to lift lives and strengthen communities. We rescue Jews in danger, provide aid to vulnerable Jews, develop innovative solutions to Israel’s most complex social challenges, cultivate a Jewish future, and lead the Jewish community’s response to crises. For over 100 years, our work has put the timeless Jewish value of mutual responsibility into action, making JDC essential to the survival of millions of people and the advancement of Jewish life across the globe.
For more information, please visit www.JDC.org.