SarvodayaJDC Disaster Management Unit, founded after 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami, providing food and other emergency aid

The American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC) is responding to catastrophic flooding and mudslides in Sri Lanka, the result of the worst storms to hit the island nation since 2003. JDC, together with its local partner Sarvodaya, a Buddhist-inspired humanitarian organization, deployed its first responder unit to provide food, water, and other emergency aid in Sri Lanka’s five hardest hit districts, including the Galle and Kalutara districts on the coast where JDC worked extensively after the 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami.

The first responders are reaching beleaguered Sri Lankans by via road and boat where necessary. As a result of the unprecedented rains, more than 500,000 people have been displaced and more than 150 killed in the last 48 hours.

JDC has a twelve year history working in Sri Lanka. The Sarvodaya-JDC Disaster Management Unit, currently carrying out relief missions, was established by JDC and Sarvodaya in the wake of the 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami when the two organizations partnered to ensure immediate aid for Tsunami survivors.

The disaster management unit – created to provide quick and efficient responses to crises in a country and region regularly hit by natural disasters – is made up of a fully equipped and trained team of first responders. Since the 2004 Tsunami, the unit has responded to dozens of disasters in Sri Lanka.

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.