March 11, 2011
The Jewish Federations of North America has opened an emergency relief fund to provide aid and support to the victims of the 8.9 magnitude earthquake and ensuing tsunami that struck Japan earlier today, and to help those in other potential disaster zones such as Hawaii and the U.S. mainland's West Coast.
Federations are urged to direct donors to JFNA's Japan, Hawaii and the Pacific Relief Fund online or through our national mailbox, at The Jewish Federations of North America, Wall Street Station, PO Box 148, New York, NY 10268. In addition, JFNA encourages Federations to set up their own mailboxes to further engage potential donors. JFNA is also working with the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee to support relief efforts.
The earthquake, which was the largest in Japan in more than 100 years, struck about 230 miles northeast of Tokyo early Friday. A devastating tsunami with reported waves of 30 feet followed, submerging entire coastal towns. Resulting tsunamis waves been since been felt across the Pacific, with possible damage feared as far away as Hawaii and the U.S. West Coast.
Although the exact number of deaths or injuries is so far unclear, authorities in Japan estimate hundreds of casualties, while tens of thousands have been evacuated. Early indications show that Japan's Jewish community of approximately 1,000 people, most of whom are located in or around Tokyo, has been largely unaffected. Still, JFNA will continue to closely monitor the situation as details emerge.
"The Jewish Federations send our deepest sympathy to people affected by this terrible event," said Fred Zimmerman, chair of JFNA's Emergency Committee. "We are determined to provide emergency relief as quickly as possible and to work with our partners to provide support over the longer term as well."
JFNA and Jewish Federations are committed to care for victims of global natural disasters, and have emergency relief plans into place to aid those in need. In 2005, Jewish Federations raised nearly $30 million to help victims of Hurricane Katrina, and approximately $10 million for those affected by the tsunami in southern Asia in 2004.
Please visit JFNA's Japan/Pacific Earthquake and Tsunami Relief page to keep updated about the situation and the Federation response. The page features reports about relief efforts by Jewish Federations and other Jewish groups. JFNA will continue to provide reports as necessary.