Israel’s Ambassador to Sri Lanka delivered disaster relief supplies to Colombo’s Foreign Ministry, along with a letter from President Reuven Rivlin to President of Sri Lanka Maithripala Sirisena, expressing Israel’s solidarity with with the Sri Lankan people.
By TAMARA ZIEVE
The American Jewish Joint Distribution (JDC) is providing emergency aid to victims of the devastating flooding and mudslides that hit Sri Lanka this week, killing hundreds of people and displacing hundreds of thousands.
This is the worst natural disaster the island nation has seen 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 organizations have since responded to dozens of disasters in Sri Lanka.
This week, they deployed a first responder unit to provide food, water, and other emergency aid in Sri Lanka’s five hardest hit districts, including the Galle and Kalutara districts on the coast.
The first responders are reaching beleaguered Sri Lankans by via road and boat where necessary.
“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,” said JDC CEO David M. Schizer.
Referencing the Jewish harvest festival of Shavuot, celebrated this week, during which Jews commemorate receiving the Ten Commandments on Mount Sinai, 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.”
JDC’s disaster relief programs are funded by special appeals of the Jewish Federations of North America and tens of thousands of individual donors.
The Sarvodaya–JDC Disaster Management Unit was created to provide quick and efficient responses to crises in a country and region regularly hit by natural disasters and is made up of a fully equipped and trained team of first responders.
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.
On Tuesday, Israel’s Ambassador 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 President of Sri Lanka Maithripala Sirisena, expressing Israel’s solidarity with with the Sri Lankan people. The supplies included power generators, drinking water and high power light sources.
“Last week, celebrating Israel’s National Day in Colombo, I stated that ‘Israel is Sri Lanka’s all-weather friend,'” Carmon said. “Unfortunately, these are storm ridden days. 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.”
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