(JTA) – The American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC) is responding with emergency aid to catastrophic flooding and mudslides in Sri Lanka.
More than 200 people have been confirmed dead and at least 100 missing in the worst storms to hit the island nation since 2003.
JDC, together with its local partner Sarvodaya, a Buddhist-inspired humanitarian organization, deployed its first responder unit to provide food, water, and other emergency aid in Sri Lanka’s five hardest hit districts.
The Sarvodaya–JDC Disaster Management Unit was founded after the 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami, when the two organizations partnered to ensure immediate aid for Tsunami survivors.
Since the 2004 Tsunami, the unit has responded to dozens of disasters in Sri Lanka, according to JDC.
More than 77,000 have been displaced and over 1,500 homes destroyed since rains began swamping the southern and western areas of Sri Lanka nearly a week ago.
“We mourn the loss of life in Sri Lanka, and are working to ensure that desperately needed assistance is delivered to survivors who have lost so much in this disaster,” said JDC CEO David M. Schizer in a statement issued on Wednesday. “As the Jewish community gathers to celebrate Shavuot, commemorating the commandments we received on Mount Sinai, we honor our tradition and its value for human life by joining with our Sri Lankan partners to save lives and carry forward a shared commitment to compassion in the face of adversity.”