Israeli emergency responders heading to typhoon-ravaged Philippines

JERUSALEM (JTA) — The Israeli disaster relief organization IsraAid is sending an emergency response team to the Philippines to the areas hardest hit by Typhoon Haivan.

The nonprofit group’s team of medical professionals and trauma and relief specialists are scheduled to arrive in the Philippines on Monday, working primarily in Tacloban City in Leyte. A larger team is expected to land by the end of the week, according to IsraAid.

The death toll in the typhoon, which made landfall in the central Philippines on Friday, could be at least 10,000, according to reports that emerged Sunday, citing local officials. At least half a million people also have been left homeless by the devastating typhoon.

The American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee has begun collecting funds for relief efforts. JDC representatives are consulting with local authorities, the Filipino Jewish community and global partners to assess the immediate needs of the survivors and said it will send a team to the area to assess the situation on the ground.

“Our heartfelt prayers go out to the Filipino people in the wake of yesterday’s deadly storm,” Alan Gill, JDC’s chief executive officer, said over the weekend. “We immediately activated our network of global partners and will leverage our previous experience in the region to provide immediate, strategic relief to survivors in their time of need.”

An Israeli diving instructor who was visiting the small Philippines Island of Malapscua and was believed to be missing in the storm was located early Sunday morning.

Hagar Klein, 23, had not been in touch with her family since late last week, Ynet reported.  Most Israelis living in the Philippines are centered near the capital of Manila, which was not affected in any meaningful way by the typhoon.

 

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