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26/11/2013: JEWISH COMMUNITY REACHES OUT TO HANDICAPPED VICTIMS OF TYPHOON HAIYAN WITH $2.5M WORTH OF PROSTHETICS

PRESS RELEASE
WDC-119-2013
26 November 2013

JEWISH COMMUNITY REACHES OUT TO HANDICAPPED VICTIMS OF TYPHOON HAIYAN WITH $2.5M WORTH OF PROSTHETICS

WASHINGTON, D.C.—The handicapped is a demographic not usually given attention by mainstream media during natural disasters. However, people with disabilities are at greater risk of injury and death during natural calamities because they are often not included in emergency response planning and may have difficulty escaping danger.

Typhoon Haiyan, which made landfall in the Philippines on 8 November 2013, left a number of people handicapped, mostly from amputations due to injuries and infections. With the number of handicapped in the typhoon-affected areas increasing, there is a need to address their long-term concerns.

Ability Prosthetics and Orthotics, Otto Bock, Physicians for Peace, and the producers of Rescue in the Philippines: Refuge from the Holocaust, in partnership with the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee, are addressing the needs of the handicapped population affected by Typhoon Haiyan with the $2.5 million worth of prosthetics and $150,000 in monetary donation for typhoon victims in the Philippines. This announcement was made during a press conference at the National Press Club on Tuesday, 26 November.

The relief operation entitled “Repayment of Debt” was inspired by Rescue in the Philippines: Refuge from the Holocaust, a film about how 1,300 Jews escaped Nazi Germany and immigrated to the Philippines during World War II.

“In the face of Haiyan's devastation, what began as a way to pay tribute to the Philippines for helping 1,300 Jews escape Nazi terror, will now help thousands of Filipinos rebuild their lives,” said Susan Eisenhower, granddaughter of President Dwight Eisenhower, who helped paved the way for Jews to migrate to the Philippines while serving in Manila as a US Army colonel.

“This is a really great thanksgiving story on a historic debt being repaid 75 years later. Several of the Jewish refugees who were saved have started a fund at the Jewish Joint Distribution Committee, raising $150,000 so far,” said Russ Hodge, producer of Rescue in the Philippines and President of 3 Roads Communication, a video production company based in Washington D.C.

Ambassador Jose L. Cuisia, Jr. thanked the Jewish Joint Distribution Committee and the organizations that made this relief effort possible. “We are grateful for the kindness and generosity the American Jewish community has extended to the Filipino people in this time of great of adversity. Your efforts will be of great help to those in need, especially those who have been handicapped by Typhoon Haiyan,” said Ambassador Cuisia.

Ability Prosthetics and Orthotics is a company that evaluates, designs, and fits patients with custom, as well as off-the-shelf, orthotic and prosthetic devices. They started in 2004 and are based in Exton, Pennsylvania.

Otto Bock is a medical technology company and worldwide manufacturer and producer of orthotics and prosthetics. It was founded in 1919 by prosthetist Otto Bock in response to the large number of injured World War I veterans.

Physicians for Peace is an organization that focuses on long-term, sustainable, replicable medical education and training. It sends teams of medical volunteers to places where their teaching and healing skills are needed most, in some 650 missions around the world, including the Philippines.

The American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee is the world’s leading Jewish humanitarian assistance organization. Today, the Committee works in more than 70 countries, including the Philippines, and in Israel to alleviate hunger and hardship, rescue Jews in danger, create lasting connections to Jewish life, and provide immediate relief and long-term development support for victims of natural and man-made disasters. ###