US Jewish and Israeli Humanitarian Groups Step Up for Guatemala Volcano Victims
As the death toll from this week’s volcano eruption in Guatemala rose to 75 on Thursday, and with more than 200 people still missing, Jewish and Israeli aid organizations stepped up their contributions to the relief effort.
In a statement, the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC) announced it was working with Guatemala’s Jewish community “as they distribute critically needed relief items to those in the hardest-hit areas and plan for the rebuilding of schools and clinics.”
The JDC said that it had “activated its emergency response network to contact both the Guatemalan Jewish community and other NGO partners to assess immediate needs and implement a response following the eruption of the volcano, which killed more than 70 people with nearly 200 people still missing. The second round of eruptions in the last 24 hours is contributing to a rising death toll and 1.7 million people are currently affected by the disaster.”
JDC CEO David Schizer remarked, “We join with those around the world mourning the loss of life in Guatemala and are privileged to join with the Guatemalan Jewish community as it quickly moves to provide life-saving aid and rebuild their country even stronger than before. Our work today underscores not just the value of tikkun olam — repairing a broken world — but the sanctity of all human life and the role of the Jewish people as global citizens responding to tragedies that impact our neighbors and loved ones.”
Israel has already dispatched aid teams to the region, providing assistance and basic necessities to those affected, including blankets, medicine, first aid kits and water purification tablets. In a phone call on Tuesday with Guatemalan President Jimmy Morales, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that further aid would be forthcoming. Israel and Guatemala are close allies, and the Central American nation moved its embassy in Israel to the capital, Jerusalem, in May.