Jewish Federations’ network of local and international partners enables us to respond quickly and effectively. Here’s what we’re doing:
Assessing the Damage. JFNA contacted every Federation and Network community in the vicinity of the storm; Houston has been especially hard hit. While we won’t know the full extent of the damage for days, we know that most local Jewish institutions have flooded and sustained damage. A whopping 71 percent of the Jewish community — including nearly 12,000 elderly members — lives in areas that have seen massive flooding.
Readying to Aid Recovery. Established after Hurricane Hugo, Jewish Federations’ Emergency Committee is ready to convene and disburse funds. Once there is a thorough needs assessment, the Committee will work with Federation partners to aid recovery and ensure urgent needs are met. Funds generally go first to the Jewish community, but we also help non-Jews. You can read about the work of the Emergency Committee here (http://www.haaretz.com/haaretz-labels/1.750289)
Coordinating Relief Efforts. JFNA coordinates and convenes JVOAD, the network of disaster response organizations that partnered with Jewish Federations to respond after Hurricane Katrina (2005) and Superstorm Sandy (2012). In this role, JFNA is focused on maximizing resources and minimizing duplication of effort.
Meeting Urgent Needs Now. Initially, the Emergency Committee will assist with immediate needs such as locating and relocating residents, and ensuring they have the basics: food, blankets, clothes, satellite phones to reach loved ones. Some funding will be allocated to local and national agencies to enable and bolster critical services such as trauma counseling and logistical support to victims.
Planning for Recovery Later. The next steps focus on homes: removing water, mud, and furniture; ripping out drywall; and pulling out floorboards, a process that, for just one home, means several days of work for 10 volunteers from partner groups like NECHAMA – Jewish Response to Disaster. The actual rebuilding and renovating comes in the months that follow.
Managing Volunteers. Those who wish to volunteer should wait until conditions and travel are safe. JFNA will coordinate volunteer efforts with organizations such as NECHAMA – Jewish Response to Disaster and IsraAID.