February 10, 2023

The Strength of Our Global Humanitarian Network

We are all devastated watching the news from the tragic earthquake in Turkey and Syria. The death toll is now more than 20,000 and is still rising.This tragedy is a reminder of the importance of our global humanitarian network, which is supported through our annual campaign. Our core partners, the American Joint Distribution Committee (JDC) and the Jewish Agency for Israel (JAFI) have had professionals on the ground since the earthquake hit. They have been supporting the Jewish community there and are also providing broader humanitarian assistance. We are also in close contact with the Israeli government and other organizations that are assisting in relief efforts.

“The soul of Israel, regardless of what political party or group is in power, remains a light unto the Nations by their humanitarian actions,” Federation President David Saginaw reminds us. “And the soul of the Jewish people is that of tikkun olam, repairing the world by taking action when needed.”

The Jewish Federations of North America has opened an emergency fund for individual donors to provide emergency support quickly and directly. All funds received will be directed immediately to the greatest needs.Read on to learn about all the ways your support of the UJA Annual Campaign enables us to support our partners on the ground as they respond to crises like this.

  • JDC worked with the Turkish Jewish community to evacuate ten communal members from the immediate disaster area. All ten are now safe, and six of the group have been given accommodation in the community’s assisted living facility. The JDC team arrived on the ground within 36 hours of the quake and have now visited four of the hardest hit areas to evaluate the needs on the ground. In the coming days, JDC plans to focus on helping some of the estimated one million people left without homes cope with living outdoors in very difficult conditions. JDC will be supplying thousands of tents, heaters, thermal clothing, ready to eat meals and first aid kits.
  • The IDF has already sent a delegation of 150 search-and-rescue experts of the Home Front Command and will send a second delegation of 230 experts to establish a field hospital in the area.
  • Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has announced that Israel also plans to send aid to Syria, including tents, medication, and blankets, but the Syrian government has denied requesting aid from Israel. Israel and Syria do not have diplomatic ties; however, during the ongoing civil war there, the IDF carried out a significant humanitarian operation to treat wounded Syrian civilians.
  • A group of 25 volunteers from United Hatzalah went to Turkey, including doctors, paramedics, and trauma experts, along with ten tons of equipment and humanitarian aid. Joining them was a small group from IsraAID organization, including trauma experts, who traveled to Turkey with water purification systems. Rescuers without Borders, another Israeli NGO, has also deployed a small team of medical professionals to the field.

None of this work would be possible without your generous support.All of this is all of us.