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article imageJews unite worldwide to assist Philippine storm victims

By Larry Clifton     Nov 11, 2013 in Health
Manila - The tiny nation of Israel dispatched a team of rescue experts to the storm-battered Philippines on Sunday night to "determine the best rapid response the IDF can provide."
The team is there to access logistics for a larger contingency of emergency responders the Jewish nation plans to deploy to help victims of Typhoon Haiyan. The storm was reported to be among the strongest to make landfall since records have been kept.
The group consisting of experts in the fields of search, rescue and medicine and dispatched from Home Front Command will make evaluations and recommendations concerning the state of infrastructure in the devastated country, the Israel Defense Forces said in a statement, according to a HAARETZ news report.
The death toll is still climbing but at least 10,000 people are unaccounted for and feared dead after the typhoon struck the archipelago nation last Friday. The storm caused severe damage to a 300-mile wide area and authorities estimate that around 10 million people are affected.
The IDF plans to send dozens of physicians to aid storm victims and officers trained to organize aid in the face of disaster. Meanwhile, Magen David Adom, head of Israel's emergency medical, disaster and ambulance service, is meeting with the International Red Cross in Australia to learn how best to focus humanitarian aid on those who need it most.
At the same time British and American organizations are contributing tens of millions of dollars in aid and relief as the U.S. military deploys to restore power and provide food and water to victims, many who have lost family members and friends as well as their homes.
World Jewish Relief, which aids Jewish and non-Jewish causes worldwide, also plans to raise funds for food and water, temporary shelter and to provide health care to victims. The vast majority of Filipinos are Christians (more than 90 percent), including Catholics, Iglesia ni Cristo, Aglipayans, and Protestants.
"As part of the Jewish community’s response to this emergency we are appealing for urgent support to help us reach those in most desperate need,” the Jewish Chronicle quoted WJR chief Paul Anticoni as saying.
“We are inspired by the Jewish values of Tikkun Olam – ‘Healing the World’ – WJR has a critical role in leading British Jewry’s response to international disasters such as this one,” Anticoni said.
The U.S.-based Jewish Federations of North America and Union for Reform Judaism have also began fund-raising efforts to aid in humanitarian efforts.
IsraAID, an Israeli-based humanitarian organization, said it plans to deploy a team of rescue experts this week to assist local NGOs and UN agencies.
"Our local counterparts in the most devastated areas of Leyte and Samar islands are reporting that over 90 percent of houses collapsed," IsraAID Chairman Shachar Zahavi said. "IsraAID is aiming to send a team consisting of medical, trauma and relief professionals and will aim its initial focus in…Tacloban City in Leyte" among other sites.
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