By Tamara Zieve
Federation has a long history of responding to disasters around the world, no matter how near or how far. The devastating flooding in Sri Lanka, which happened in the end of May, was no different. Our overseas partner JDC (Jewish Joint Distribution) immediately sprung into action as they received reports of the event.
Hundreds killed, thousands displaced in worst torrential rains since 2004.
The American Jewish Joint Distribution is providing emergency aid to victims of the devastating flooding and mudslides that killed hundreds of people, displacing hundreds of thousands more in Sri Lanka.
This is the worst natural disaster to hit the island nation since the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake and tsunami. The JDC is already familiar with the region, having then established a disaster-management unit together with Sarvodaya, a local Buddhist-inspired humanitarian organization. The Sarvodaya–JDC disaster-management unit is made up of a fully equipped, trained team of first responders and was created to provide quick and efficient responses to crises in a country regularly hit by natural disasters.
The organizations have since responded to dozens of disasters in Sri Lanka and this flood that impacted more than 700,000 people was no different. The team deployed a first-responder unit to provide food, water and other emergency aid in Sri Lanka’s five hardest- hit districts, including Galle and Kalutara on the coast.
“We mourn the loss of life in Sri Lanka and are working to ensure that desperately needed assistance is delivered to survivors who have lost so much in this disaster,” JDC CEO David M. Schizer said.“We honor our tradition and its value for human life by joining with our Sri Lankan partners to save lives and carry forward a shared commitment to compassion in the face of adversity.”
The JDC coordinates its relief activities with local and international partners, including the US Department of State, USAID, the United Nations and the Israeli government.
Shortly after the event, Ambassador of Israel to India and Sri Lanka Daniel Carmon delivered disaster-relief supplies to Colombo’s Foreign Ministry, along with a letter from President Reuven Rivlin to Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena, expressing Israel’s solidarity with the Sri Lankan people. The supplies included power generators, drinking water and high-power light sources. “...I am proud to be able to provide these supplies to our Sri Lankan friends. I am convinced our partnership will continue to grow when the clouds have cleared.” Carmon said.