JDC aiding Jews affected by munitions blast in Kazakhstan


(JTA) — A munitions explosion in Kazakhstan that forced thousands to flee their homes left several elderly Jews in need of urgent assistance, the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee said.

One of the Jews from the city of Arys in southern Kazakhstan, where 45,000 were evacuated last month, is Olga Viktukova, 86, who was born in Ukraine. She was led to safety and rescued by Olga Kobruseva, a non-Jewish woman who works for the Joint, or JDC, as a home care worker, JDC said.

Kobruseva was caring for Viktukova when the first blast occurred, blowing in windows and doors, on June 24. Kobruseva quickly prepared the older woman and took her out of the house.

The pair made a six hours trek to the nearby city of Shymkent where JDC provided them food, medicine, and accommodation as part of its emergency response.

The local Jewish community of Shymkent and JDC also provided relief to eight other Jews. Zelik Mordukhai, a local Jewish leader, also delivered aid to non-Jewish evacuees.

Kazakhstan is home to an estimated 9,600 Jews and JDC provides social services to over 1,200 poor Jews Kazakhstan.

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