Jewish groups raise at least 2 million dollars in Japan aid

"We are overwhelmed by the generosity of the Jewish community," chairman of JFNA Emergency C'tee says on earthquake effort.

By GIL STERN STERN SHEFLER
March 31, 2011 16:48
2 minute read.
IDF Field Hospital in Japan uses JDC equipment

IDF Field Hospital 311. (photo credit: JDC)

 
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Responding to the devastating earthquake and tsunami that devastated Japan earlier this month, Jewish groups announced on Thursday that they have raised at least $2 million dollars in aid.

The Jewish Federations of North America (JFNA), a network of Jewish fund-raising organizations, said it raised almost one million dollars over the past few weeks.

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“By allocating our first contribution to the JDC, Jewish Federations can be sure their funds will be put to use quickly and effectively, benefiting those most in need,” said Fred Zimmerman, chair of JFNA’s Emergency Committee. “We are overwhelmed by the generosity of the Jewish community, and continue to evaluate the best applications for federation donations as the situation evolves.”

According to JFNA, roughly $185,000 was raised online by the umbrella group, while individual federations – including the Jewish United Fund/Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Chicago, the UJA-Federation of New York and the UJA Federation of Greater Toronto and others – raised a total of $685,000.

Meanwhile, the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee, an aid group working in 70 countries, which is partly funded by JFNA, said it independently raised at least $1.2 million by last week, a spokesman said.

For weeks JDC has been working with the Jewish community of Tokyo and JEN, a Japanese NGO, providing relief to the residents in the Tohuko region, which was worst hit by the tragedy.

“JDC’s past experience responding to earthquakes and tsunamis has taught us that the kind of unparalleled medical treatment we’ll help bring through the IDF Field Hospital is vital to the recovery of the Japanese people,” said JDC CEO Steven Schwager. “Even as we quickly provide these services during the emergency phase of our response, JDC is monitoring needs and assessing projects to help improve local lives in the longer-term.”

Earlier this week, Israel became one of the first nations directly involved in delivering aid to the tsunami-battered region of north-eastern Japan.

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Its delegation of 50 medical staff volunteers brought tons of supplies, and created a much-needed medical center in the Miyagi prefecture, where it is currently treating hundreds of needy locals.

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