Ahead of World Refugee Day on June 20th, American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC) CEO Alan H. Gill called on the Jewish and international community to redouble its efforts to aid Ukraine’s million plus internally displaced people, including thousands of displaced Jews who like their neighbors have fled fighting between the Ukrainian government and separatists in the east.
“At a time when refugee and internally displaced populations are surging worldwide, we call on people of good will to join us in our ongoing efforts to address the plight of Ukraine’s internally displaced, a critical humanitarian crisis that has fallen from the headlines. As we know from our work with displaced Ukrainian Jews, there is no end in sight to their suffering – and the suffering of millions of others impacted by conflict, persecution, and disaster – and we must reaffirm our dedication to their well-being and put into action the ancient Jewish ideal of arveut, mutual responsibility, for the most vulnerable.”
According to the United Nations, there are currently 16.7 million refugees and 38 million Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) around the world – the highest figures since World War II. In Ukraine, over 1 million are believed to have been displaced by the political and economic crisis that started there last year.
Facing many challenges – including the need for food, housing, medical care, employment, severe trauma, and discrimination from potential employers or landlords – JDC is currently caring for more than 2,800 displaced Ukrainian Jews, connecting them to local Jewish life and to a sense of normalcy. JDC has provided them with a full aid package including food, medicine, medical care, stipends for accommodation, temporary shelter, post trauma support, and other basic needs. They also have been provided Jewish holiday programming, summer camp experiences, and other opportunities with local Jewish communities.
In addition to Ukraine, JDC is also a founding member of the Jewish Coalition for Syrian Refugees in Jordan and the Multifaith Alliance for Syrian Refugees, a coalition of humanitarian and faith-based organizations helping Syrian refugees in Jordan who fled their country’s raging civil war.
JDC’s Ukraine crisis work is generously support by its Board, individual donors and foundations, and their partners, including the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews, the Jewish Federations of North America, World Jewish Relief, and the Conference on Jewish Materials Claims Against Germany.