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August 18, 2023
Humanitarian Response

World Jewish Relief marks World Humanitarian Day

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Every year on August 19th, humanitarian organisations around the world remember those who have lost their lives whilst helping people in need.

This year, we are also using World Humanitarian Day to reaffirm our commitment to providing life-saving support to people in crisis around the world, wherever we can have the most impact and no matter how challenging the context. In other words, #NoMatterWhat. Thanks to the continued generosity from our supporters, we are able to: 

Respond to under the radar crises where others aren’t operating 

Every year there are many small-scale disasters that don’t make the headlines in the UK, but which devastate local communities. Thanks to our local partners, we have unique access to hard-to-reach communities who may not receive the support they so desperately need. For example, when an earthquake destroyed homes in a remote region of Nepal last January, we provided 23 families with life-saving food, blankets, construction material and winter kits. The mountain village was only accessible on foot after a day of hiking, and our Nepalese partner CSRC was well-placed to respond as they have access to the community. This is just one example of how our partnerships enable us to reach people impacted by under-the-radar crises No Matter What.  

Rapidly adapt how we work when major crises occur… 

When Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine began in 2022, we rapidly increased our staff capacity, developed new partnerships, established international supply routes, and dramatically scaled up our support in the country. Through our network of 29 partners, we have supported 253,176 people across Ukraine in 373 towns and villages. Many of these 373 communities are remote, hard-to-reach and on the frontlines of conflict where the humanitarian need is greatest. We will continue to provide critical services to people affected by the war in Ukraine No Matter What. 

Respond to the challenges of the climate crisis… 

Man faces camera holding out crops, in Nepal
Farmers like Bishnu in Nepal are building their climate resilience through World Jewish Relief's programmes

Inspired by our Jewish values, we are working hard to address the climate crisis which is already destroying the lives and livelihoods of millions of people around the world. Already vulnerable communities are at greatest risk from its impacts. Over the last two years, we have established a new portfolio of climate resilience programmes, worked in greater depth with our partners and strived to reduce our own carbon footprint. So far, we have directly supported over 12,000 people, across Nepal, Myanmar, Bangladesh, and Ethiopia. We have also developed new expertise – in disaster preparedness, flood drought and landslide prevention, livelihood adaptation, and early warning systems.  

Persist in difficult operating environments… 

Buildings destroyed after an earthquake

The core humanitarian principles of humanity, neutrality, impartiality and independence urge us to provide assistance regardless of the political context. However, some communities are harder to reach than others, due to sanctions that restrict flows of funding, or security threats to staff delivering aid on the ground.  

We have fought to reach these communities No Matter What. We have supported 5,500 displaced people within Myanmar, despite the military takeover and following departure of other aid providers from the country. We responded in Afghanistan when the Taliban seized control in 2021, and when the 2023 Turkey–Syria earthquakes hit, we were able to respond in both countries despite the challenges of operating in Syria due to political instability and ongoing conflict Furthermore, we have continued to expand our operations in Ethiopia, delivering food and re-building livelihoods for displaced women, despite escalating violence across the country.  

All of this is possible due to our strong relationships with local partner organisations, who work tirelessly to ensure that vulnerable people are not left behind when they are hit by climate-related disasters or conflict. Without them we would not have the impact that we do, and we extend our commitment to support our partners No Matter What, as much as we do to the vulnerable communities we support each and every year.