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JDC Announces Initial Allocation of Funds to Support South Asia Tsunami Victims


Staff Writer, JDC Newsletter, January 1, 2005
One week has passed since a magnitude 9.0 earthquake off the coast of Indonesia spawned a series of tsunamis that have devastated coastal areas in South Asia from Thailand to India. The situation remains dire. The death toll has risen to more than 150,000 people; five million people remain homeless; close to two million people need food; and tens of thousands remain at high risk of contracting diseases such as cholera, typhoid and malaria. There have also been reports of widespread diarrhea, which is especially dangerous for children. A report from the World Health Organization has concluded that 50,000 additional deaths would be a reasonable projection.

Many relief agencies, including several Israeli organizations, have set up field operations in the region. Workers are delivering food, water, clothing, fuel, communications equipment, building materials and medical supplies. Despite their hard work, many obstacles exist. Some locales, such as parts of Indonesia and Sri Lanka, are nearly unreachable due to fuel shortages, washed-away highways and decimated civil infrastructure.

To support these efforts, on behalf of the North American Jewish Community, JDC has raised more than $2 million through phone and Internet contributions. We have also shipped more than $300,000 worth of medicine to India, which will be distributed by our partners on the ground. This morning we've announced the first in a series of monetary allocations to partner organizations on the ground that are providing near-term relief. We are also looking at longer-term infrastructure rebuilding projects, such as schools, hospitals, orphanages or medical clinics. We will be utilizing a portion of the monies we raise to support such projects, and we plan to announce which long-term projects we will be supporting at a later date.

This morning's allocations to JDC's partners include: International Rescue Committee. JDC is allocating $150,000 for ongoing delivery of relief supplies in the hard-hit Aceh province of Indonesia. Disaster Mitigation Institute and Caritas/Catholic Relief. JDC is allocating a combined $250,000 for delivery of food, clothing and temporary shelter materials in Chennai, India. JDC operates a field office in Mumbai, and will work with the local Jewish Community to coordinate activities in the field. Chabad. JDC is allocating $25,000 to provide medical help, meals and clothing for injured survivors in Thailand. Chabad volunteers are working at hospitals, providing clothing and counseling services.

Additionally, JDC has dispatched a team of regional experts to Sri Lanka to determine which critical areas of need are not being serviced adequately and to select a partner agency on the ground with whom to work. Once this assessment is complete, we will make an immediate allocation of $150,000 to support relief efforts in Sri Lanka.

For the latest Situation Report that provides more detailed information as well as an overview of JDC's Disaster Relief efforts over the past two decades, please click here . We will continue to provide you with updates as new information becomes available. Send checks to: JDC Southeast Asia Tsunami Relief, Box 321, 847A Second Avenue, New York, NY 10017.