Humanitarian Aid to the Victims of Typhoon Yolanda from Israel
5 December 2013 - When news of the devastation caused by typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) reached Israel, the country was among the first to reach out to the Philippines and respond to the needs of the millions of people affected by the calamity. Messages of sympathy and humanitarian aid in many forms have poured from the Israeli Government, Diplomatic Corps, schools, NGOs, private companies and individuals. Likewise, the Filipino community in Israel has also initiated various relief efforts to help their kababayans in need.
Israeli Government and people reach out to the victims
After the typhoon struck parts of the central Philippines, the Israeli Government immediately sent an advance team from the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) Home Front Command and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) to assess the situation before deploying the 148-member IDF mission. During their 12-day stay in the country, the delegation members provided relief goods to the victims, assisted in search and rescue operations, and in the reconstruction of buildings and restoration of water supply. They also set up a field hospital where they treated more than 2,800 victims, performing surgeries and helping in the delivery of babies.
Apart from the government, several organizations, institutions and companies also extended similar or other forms of assistance as follows:
· American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee – sent an assessment team for medium-term rehabilitation, especially on health and education matters.
· Israeli Relief Coalition – sent two medical missions, consisting of medical and psychosocial personnel.
· ZAKA International Rescue Group – performed search and rescue and medical operations.
· Boys Town Jerusalem – donated 25 boxes of food, blankets, pillows, beddings and towels.
· Gattegno Bros. – donated 40 boxes of biscuits.
· I-Remit –waived remittance fees to official accounts for donations.
· Asia Express Cargo – provided free shipping of donations
· Orange (Cellphone Network) – offered free calls and SMS to the Philippines.
· Jewish Vetereans Association – donated cash
· Tabeetha School, Jaffa – donated cash
There were also many private individuals who gave donations to the victims either in cash or in kind. Until now the Embassy continues to receive inquiries or calls from institutions and individuals who wish to donate to the typhoon victims.
Filipino workers in Israel help their kababayans
The Filipinos working in Israel have also initiated their own relief efforts and organized concerts and other activities for the purpose of collecting donations for the typhoon victims. Apart from conducting fundraising activities, the Filipino community also organized a rosary crusade held at the St. Anthony Church in Jaffa.
Messages of Sympathy
There has also been an outpouring of messages of sympathy from various sectors and individuals. Members of the Diplomatic Corps and private persons came to the Embassy to light candles, lay flowers or write on the condolence book opened for those who perished during the typhoon.
Friendship between two countries
The outpouring of support from Israel during the past weeks has not only shown the true spirit and values of the Israelis who have always been ready to help during calamities, but has also highlighted the excellent relations between the Philippines and Israel. While relations between the two countries continue to grow in terms of trade and politics, the recent tragedy has also shown a very favorable side of their friendship as manifested in people-to-people solidarity.