March 16, 2011

Japan Update

From:     Irv Smokler, President
             Patricia Werthan Uhlmann, Chair, International Development Program Committee
             Steve Schwager, CEO

Re:        Crisis in Japan
Date:     March 15, 2011

All of us are following the news regarding the serious and disturbing crisis in Japan. JDC is closely monitoring the situation there. As noted in last Friday’s memo, we have opened a disaster mailbox for donations in response to the earthquake and the tsunami.

JDC quickly reached out to the Japanese Jewish Community in Tokyo. In partnership with the Community, JDC is distributing emergency supplies, including food and hygiene products, to victims of the disaster through JEN, a local Japanese NGO currently operating in the Miyagi and Fukushima prefectures—the areas hardest hit by the tsunami.

"To have a Jewish organization pick up the phone at this time of crisis is wonderful. I was aware of JDC before the earthquake and we even linked out to JDC for relief efforts from my business' website,” said Philip Rosenfeld, treasurer of the Jewish Community of Japan. “But that initial phone call from JDC and the organization's 24-hour turnaround at this time was fantastic."

Based in Tokyo, JEN focuses on, among other things: shelter reconstruction, support of the socially vulnerable, and emergency supply distribution. JEN provided relief in Japan following the 2004 Chuetsu Earthquake in Niigata and the 2007 Chuetsu Oki Earthquake.

JDC’s response to this disaster is clearly distinct from our relief work in Haiti, where little local infrastructure existed even before the earthquake.

Japan is a developed and well-resourced country, and is still assessing damage and needs created by this multi-layered disaster—earthquake, tsunami, and radiation threat.

JDC continues to monitor the situation to determine next steps in our humanitarian effort. We are consulting with potential partners on the ground—including those with whom we collaborated following the 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami. As always, our goal is to help the Japanese people in the most effective way possible.

We will update you as the situation evolves.

Thank you.

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