Jewish, Israeli groups offer aid to Japan after quake
IsraAID, ZAKA prepare teams to provide assistance in aftermath of tsunami; JDC launches fundraising drive for relief efforts.
By GIL STERN STERN SHEFLER
March 11, 2011 19:33
2 minute read.
Israaid phillipines 248.88.
(photo credit: )
Hours after a 8.9
magnitude earthquake followed by a devastating tsunami struck Japan,
Jewish and Israeli humanitarian groups on Friday pledged to help relief
efforts in the island nation.
The American Jewish Joint
Distribution Committee (JDC) on Friday announced it was collecting funds
for relief efforts and has reached out to the Japanese Government to
offer its expertise in earthquake and tsunami-related response
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“Our prayers and sympathies go out to the families of those lost in the
earthquake in Japan and as we have before in Haiti and in nations struck
by the Indian Ocean Tsunami, JDC will leverage its disaster relief
expertise and strong partnerships in the region to react swiftly and
sympathetically to the needs of victims,” said Steven Schwager, JDC’s
Chief Executive Officer.
Meanwhile, IsraAID-FIRST, an Israeli umbrella group of relief
organizations, said Friday morning it was preparing to send a team of
experts to the island nation to assist in relief efforts.
“We’ve been looking past few hours at the damage and the needs,”
IsrarAID head Shahar Zehavi said. “Our main agenda is to send a
delegation of earthquakes specialists and water purification experts to
Zehavi said the delegation should arrive in Japan by Saturday morning
but that its schedule depends on air traffic to and from Japan.
While IsraAID teams often work in the third world –it has a permanent
mission in Haiti and is helping rehabilitate that nation which is still
recovering from last year’s earthquake-Zehavi said they were no
strangers to working in developed nations either.
“Western countries are different than developing countries, but if you
look at Hurricane Katarina then you’ll see they aren’t fundamentally
different,” he said. “Our main thing has been reaching out and showing
them we care. “
IsraAID’s receives funding from the Jewish Federation of Toronto, other Jewish groups and private donations.
Two delegations from ZAKA will depart from Israel and Hong Kong to
assist in rescue efforts after the conclusion of Shabbat in each
respective time zone.
The delegation decided to depart after consulting with the Foreign
Ministry and Chabad in Japan, according to a press release from the
organization. The ZAKA team was expected to be met upon arrival by
Israeli Ambassador to Japan Nissim Ben-Sheetrit, according to the
JPost.com staff contributed to this report.