An international relief group has hailed the “outstanding” response from Britain’s Jewish community in raising money for those affected by Typhoon Haiyan, which hit the Philippines earlier this month.
After donations topped £330,000 in two weeks, World Jewish Relief (WJR) said it had been able to help 40,000 people affected by the fourth most powerful cyclone ever recorded.
“The response from the Jewish community so far has been simply outstanding,” said WJR chief executive Paul Anticoni.
Magen David Adom UK has also been integral to the community’s response, working with the International Committee of the Red Cross to supply £160,000 of Doctors’ Emergency Travel Packs for use in the emergency areas.
Acknowledging the community’s fundraising efforts, an MDA-UK spokesperson said: “The response from British Jewry has been typically forthcoming.”
Within 24 hours of being asked to help, MDA-UK said ring-fenced funds had been released and packs purchased. A day later the shipment was on its way.
“There is still more that we can do,” said MDA-UK chief executive Daniel Burger said, “But we are delighted to have been able to secure such vital medical aid where it is most needed.”
The official death toll currently stands at over 4,000 people, but aid workers from Israel and elsewhere say this is likely to keep rising over the coming weeks, as volunteers from across the world battle hunger and disease.
Israel was among the first countries to set up a fully-functioning field hospital in the disaster zone. The IDF operation, on the Island of Cebu, has provided medical care to thousands of victims, many of whom fled the adjacent Island of Leyte, which bore the brunt of the super-storm.
Additionally, hundreds of Israeli volunteers have been dispatched from organisations such as JDC, IsraAid and Masa.
“It’s a very special response in an already strong relationship that will only be strengthened,” said the Philippines ambassador to Israel.
“I want to express the heartfelt gratitude of the Filipino people and government for this outpouring of good will and compassion.”