Humanitarian Aid to the Victims of Typhoon Yolanda from Israel

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   Ambassador Generoso D.G. Calonge with the 8th graders of the Boys Town Jerusalem who helped pack the donations
              for the typhoon victims (left photo) and representatives of ZAKA International Rescue Group (right photo).

When news of the devastation caused by Typhoon Yolanda reached Israel, the country was among the first to reach out to the Philippines and respond to the needs of the millions of people affected by the calamity. Messages of sympathy and humanitarian aid in many forms have poured from the Israeli Government, Diplomatic Corps, schools, NGOs, private companies and individuals. Likewise, the Filipino community in Israel has also initiated various relief efforts to help their kababayans in need.

Israeli Government and people reach out to the victims

After the typhoon struck parts of the central Philippines, the Israeli Government immediately sent an advance team from the IDF Home Front Command and MFA to assess the situation before deploying its 148-member IDF mission. During their 12-day stay in the country, the delegation members provided relief goods to the victims, assisted in search and rescue operations, and in the reconstruction of buildings and restoration of water supply. They also set up a field hospital where they treated more than 2,800 victims, performing surgeries and helping in the delivery of babies.

Apart from the government, several organizations, institutions and companies also extended similar or other forms of assistance as follows:

     • American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee – sent an assessment team for medium-term rehabilitation, especially on health and education matters.

     • Israeli Relief Coalition – sent two medical missions, consisting of medical and psychosocial personnel.

     • ZAKA International Rescue Group – performed search and rescue and medical operations.

     • Boys Town Jerusalem – donated 25 boxes of food, blankets, pillows, beddings and towels.

     • Gattegno Bros. – donated 40 boxes of biscuits.

     • I-Remit –waived remittance fees to official accounts for donations.

     • Asia Express Cargo – provided free shipping of donations

     • Orange (Cellphone Network) – offered free calls and SMS to the Philippines.

     • Jewish Vetereans Association – donated cash

     • Tabeetha School, Jaffa – donated cash

     • Lightning Scientific Arnis Israel - held a charity seminar and donated the proceeds

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         Ambassador Calonge, along with Second Secretary and Consul Greg Marie C. Mariño, meets with representatives
                   of the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (left photo) and Israeli Relief Coalition (right photo).

There were also many private individuals who gave donations to the victims either in cash or in kind. Until now the Embassy continues to receive inquiries or calls from institutions and individuals who wish to donate to the typhoon victims.

Filipino Workers in Israel Help Their Kababayans

The Filipinos working in Israel have also initiated their own relief efforts and organized concerts and other activities for the purpose of collecting donations for the typhoon victims. Apart from conducting fundraising activities, the Filipino community also organized a rosary crusade held at the St. Anthony Church in Jaffa.

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         Left photo: One of the fundraising activities organized by the Filipino community. Right photo: The prayer crusade
                                                     for the typhoon victims held at the St. Anthony Church, Jaffa.

Messages of Sympathy

There has also been an outpouring of messages of sympathy from various sectors and individuals. Members of the Diplomatic Corps and private persons came to the Embassy to light candles, lay flowers or write on the condolence book opened for those who perished during the typhoon.

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                         Left photo: Condolence book for those who perished during the typhoon. Right photo: Flowers
                                                  and candles offered by Israeli children in front of the Embassy.

Friendship between two countries

The outpouring of support from Israel during the past weeks has not only shown the true spirit and values of the Israelis who have always been ready to help during calamities, but has also highlighted the excellent relations between the Philippines and Israel. While relations between the two countries continue to grow in terms of trade and politics, the recent tragedy has also shown a very favorable side of their friendship and it is manifested in people-to-people solidarity. --END--