They need our help
The death toll from last week’s earthquakes in Turkey and Syria, at the time of going to press, has exceeded 40,000 people. United Nations relief chief Martin Griffiths says it could top 55,000 when all is said and done.
According to the World Health Organisation, nearly 26 million people have been affected by the disaster. The United Nations says that in Syria alone 5.3 million have been left homeless.
Many in Turkey have also lost their homes and possessions.
The devastation and desperation of those affected increases every day. The images from the disaster zone have been heartbreaking. Families congregate on rubble-strewn streets, too frightened by aftershocks to re-enter their stricken homes, as more and more buildings risk falling.
There is a lack of drinkable water and poor sanitation.
The Turkish employers’ association Turkonfed has said the economic cost of the disaster could be as much as $US84.1 billion.
However, it has been heartwarming to see the response from around the world. More than 40,000 rescue workers are on the ground working on relief efforts.
Israel set an early example by sending rescue and field hospital delegations. It is a tradition that Israel has honed over many decades, providing compassionate outreach in natural disaster and war zones.
The hospital initiative calls to mind Israel’s groundbreaking field hospital in Ukraine which included a triage area, ER ward, men’s, women’s and children’s wards, labour and delivery facilities, imaging and tele-health, mental health services, a lab, pharmacy, and outpatient clinic.
Israel’s humanitarian work through its world-leading hospital and medical expertise is a valuable asset in Turkey, helping people there just as it has aided civilians in Ukraine and in natural disaster areas in the Philippines, Japan and Nepal.
Meanwhile, Jewish communities around the world are opening their hearts and their wallets at this hour of need.
The AJN wholeheartedly endorses the fundraising initiative of Stand Up, the NSW Jewish Board of Deputies and the Jewish Community Council of Victoria.
As human beings and as Jews, it behoves us to help.