New York, NY, November 9, 2013 – In the aftermath of the destruction wrought by super Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines, The American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC) has begun collecting funds for relief efforts. Responding to a quickly rising death toll and catastrophic destruction, JDC 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.
JDC’s disaster relief programs are funded by special appeals of the Jewish Federations of North America and tens of thousands of individual donors to JDC. JDC coordinates its relief activities with the U.S. Department of State, USAID, Interaction, the Israeli Foreign Ministry, Israeli relief agencies, and the United Nations.
JDC has a history operating in the Philippines, 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, JDC 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 Philippines,” a recently released documentary. It followed the remarkable story of how one family – the Frieders – together with the JDC helped bring hundreds of European Jews to Manila, saving them from near certain death in the Holocaust.