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March 20, 2019

World Jewish Relief launches Cyclone Idai Emergency Appeal


Woman searching desperately in the rubble

World Jewish Relief launches Cyclone Idai Emergency Appeal

World Jewish Relief has launched an emergency appeal to provide immediate assistance to the survivors of the devastating storm that struck Mozambique, Zimbabwe and Malawi in southern Africa at the weekend.

World Jewish Relief is the British Jewish community’s humanitarian agency and inspired by Jewish values, it reaches beyond the Jewish community at times of international crisis. It has launched its Cyclone Idai Emergency Appeal with the support of 14 leading Jewish communal agencies and Senior Rabbis.

Donations could help to provide emergency relief such as shelter, food and water, medical equipment and hygiene kits. The World Jewish Relief emergency team is currently assessing the situation in the areas affected by the cyclone to determine how best to provide support to people hit by this tragedy.

Cyclone Idai swept through Mozambique on Friday 15th March, devastating the coastal cities of Beira and Busi and destroying almost everything in its path. It left a swathe of destruction as it moved inland and then across Zimbabwe and Malawi.

Roads, bridges and crops have been washed away and homes and villages have been submerged, forcing people to take refuge on rooftops. Large parts of the cities are still under water with flood waters expected to rise. Schools, health clinics and hospitals have been badly hit and rescue workers are still trying to reach people in the most remote areas, five days after the initial storm. An estimated 2.6 million people have been affected in what the UN says could be the worst weather-related disaster to hit the southern hemisphere.

Paul Anticoni, World Jewish Relief’s Chief Executive says, “On Purim we read in Megillat Esther about how our fortunes can change dramatically in a short space of time – from sorrow to gladness, and from mourning into a celebration. Unfortunately, Cyclone Idai reminds us of the speed at which our circumstances can change for the worse – it is a stark warning of the fragility of life and the power of the natural world to turn lives and livelihoods upside down.”

Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis says: “The images emerging from southern Africa and the stories of devastation on the coast of Mozambique and elsewhere are truly harrowing. I urge all who are able, to contribute to World Jewish Relief’s emergency appeal in aid of the victims of Tropical Cyclone Idai.”

Rabbi Jonathan Wittenberg, Senior Rabbi, Masorti Judaism says: “The terrible cyclone to strike southern Africa has left death and devastation on a scale yet to be fathomed. We must do our utmost to help save lives, care for the homeless and restore livelihoods those who have lost everything in this appalling disaster.”

Rabbi Laura Janner-Klausner, Senior Rabbi of Reform Judaism says: “Please give generously to World Jewish Relief’s appeal following the devastating cyclone in southern Africa. In the words of the Reform siddur, our prayer book, may we respond with generosity and compassion; may we help save lives of those in danger, alleviate their suffering and bring hope and help to all those who have survived and must rebuild their lives.”

Rabbi Danny Rich, Senior Rabbi and Chief Executive, Liberal Judaism says: “Our Jewish and human conscience stir us to act and once again World Jewish Relief has taken a lead in providing us with a simple means of assisting those injured, bereaved and displaced by Cyclone Idai.

The organisations backing World Jewish Relief’s Indonesia Earthquake and Tsunami Appeal are: Board of Deputies, Jewish Leadership Council, JW3, Liberal Judaism, London Jewish Forum, Masorti Judaism, Movement for Reform Judaism, Office of the Chief Rabbi, S&P Sephardi Community, Tzedek, United Synagogue, UJS, The Federation and the Zionist Youth Council.