Federations embark on disaster relief effort for Turkey and Syria

Dear Friends,

This morning, a 7.8 magnitude Earthquake hit Turkey and Syria, killing at least 2,300 (around half in Turkey and half in Syria), injuring at least 3,000 others, and causing significant damage and destruction. According to the US Government, those numbers are likely to rise, possibly into the tens of thousands. The powerful quake was felt in Israel too, although no major damage or injuries have been reported.

Jewish Federations, together with our partners, are quickly learning about the extent of the damage and possible needs on the ground. As always, we are ready to assist when disaster strikes. We have just opened a mail box, which can be accessed here, and will be sending a digital marketing toolkit with social posts, web banners, and email content in the coming hours, along with additional updates.

Here's what we know so far:

Israel’s President Isaac Herzog sent condolences in Hebrew, Turkish and English, tweeting: “On behalf of the Israeli people, I am deeply saddened by the enormous disaster that has befallen Türkiye following last night's earthquake. My condolences to President Erdoğan and the Turkish people for the loss of life and destruction of livelihoods. The State of Israel always stands ready to assist in every way possible. Our hearts are with the grieving families and the Turkish people at this painful moment.”

Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that Israel had received requests through “diplomatic channels” (apparently through Russia) to assist in Syria, and that aid would be provided there. Israeli media is reporting that the country will send tents, medication and blankets to Syria. In addition, Israel will receive wounded Syrians for medical treatment if requested, even though Israel and Syria do not have diplomatic ties.

Israel’s Foreign Minister Eli Cohen sent his condolences to the Turkish people in the wake of the disaster, saying “On behalf of the State of Israel, I would like to express deep sorrow to the Turkish people for the severe earthquake that struck southern Turkey tonight. Our hearts go out to the victims and we wish the injured a speedy recovery. I have instructed the Foreign Ministry to lead a rapid aid program for Turkey to deal with the severe disaster.” Eynat Shlein, the head of MASHAV, (Israel’s national aid agency), flew to Turkey earlier this morning.

Meanwhile Israel’s Defense Minister Yoav Gallant has instructed the IDF and the Defense Ministry to immediately prepare emergency aid through the Home Front Command's rescue units. At this stage, a first delegation of doctors and IDF officers will depart immediately for Turkey, with a larger delegation following soon.

Federation partner JDC’s disaster and international relief arm, called GRID, is already sending one worker to assist the Turkish Jewish community. The Jewish Agency’s shaliach in Turkey is unhurt and is assessing community damage and possible needs.

Israeli aid organization Unit 360 has a team of some 30 people in the process of preparing to fly immediately to provide emergency aid to Turkey. IsrAID, Israel’s major foreign aid provider, is standing by and in discussions with government officials in Israel and Turkey to determine what sort of aid is needed.

United Hatzalah of Israel also said that it was preparing to send a relief mission to Turkey. The mission will include doctors, paramedics, EMTs, members of the psychotrauma and crisis response unit, and members of the search and rescue units, with medical supplies and humanitarian aid. Other Israeli response groups such as Magen David Adom and Zaka are also preparing emergency delegations.

Rebecca Caspi
Senior Vice President, Israel and Overseas –
Director General, JFNA Israel


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