May 18, 2018 — New York
AJC, the global Jewish advocacy organization, is supporting IsraAID in response to the impact of volcanic eruptions on Ambae Island in the South Pacific nation of Vanuatu.
"Our thoughts are with the people of Vanuatu as they seek to rebuild after widespread destruction and displacement wrought by the devasting volcanic eruptions," said AJC Asia Pacific Institute Director Shira Loewenberg.
IsraAID has joined with the Vanuatu Ministry of Health, and the only psychiatrist on the island, to provide essential care to those in need. The program is unique in the sense that national and international aid efforts for crises with large-scale destruction typically focus on practical physical support, with limited resources allocated to the mental and emotional rehabilitation of affected populations.
The island’s population of 10,000 people are currently dealing with poor housing conditions, shortages of safe water, and trauma, and many have been relocated to other Vanuatu islands.
IsraAID’s team in Vanuatu will offer a combination of direct services and capacity-building programs, including: building psychosocial capacity of first responders; strengthening the national mechanism of response in emergencies; facilitating psychosocial first aid workshops and activities for vulnerable communities; and distributing resilience kits for children and parents.
Humanitarian relief has been a core of AJC's work for more than a century. "Our tradition commands us to respond generously and compassionately to those who are in need," said Loewenberg.
AJC has supported IsraAID over the years in responding to humanitarian crises in Africa, Asia, Europe, and the Middle East.