A leading Jewish charity launched an appeal for contributions to aid in recovery and rebuilding efforts as Hurricane Sandy swept the East Coast leading to nine official state emergency declarations, from New York to Pennsylvania
According to a statement by Jerry Silverman, President of The Jewish Federations of North America, the fund will be utilised to aid “all those impacted by Hurricane Sandy” and the organisations emergency committee had been activate to enter into “consultation with community leadership to keep them apprised of relief and response efforts as the situation evolves”.
A further comment vy William Daroff, vice president of public policy and director of teh federation’s Washington office confirmed that their efforts would be “focused on both those in the Jewosh community and non-Jewish community as we work with local Jewish federations as well as local, state and federal emergency management personnel to assess the damage and look forward to recovery”.
Meanwhile, US daily The New York Observer reported Tuesday two of the 40 victims of the hurricane as being Jews.
The report said that the victims, the daughter of a prominent local activist and her male friend, were crushed by a fallen tree and killed in the Ditmas Park section of Brooklyn.
The female victim was identified as Jessie Streich-Kest, daughter of Jon Kest, executive director for New York Communities for Change, according to a spokesman for the family.
Council Member Mathieu Eugene identified the male victim as Jacob Vogelman of First Street in Brooklyn.
A New York Police Department spokeswoman confirmed that a male and female were found dead at the Ditmas Park location, but wouldn’t confirm the names of the deceased until the victim’s families were notified. There have been 12 storm-related deaths in New York City, the spokeswoman said.
At a daily press briefing on America’s response to the hurricane, which threatens to be the greatest natural disaster to hit the US since Hurricane Katrina paralysed New Orleans in 2005, Tuesday, President Barack Obama paid tribute to “the heroic first responders who are selflessly putting themselves in harm’s way to protect members of their communities”.
Updating those still in the onward path of the hurricane as it contiunues to ehad north, the president added: “There are still communities that could be affected. And so I want to emphasize there are still risks of flooding, there are still risks of down power lines, risks of high winds. And so it is very important for the public to continue to monitor the situation in your local community, listen to your state and local officials, follow instructions. The more you follow instructions, the easier it is for our first responders to make sure that they are dealing with true emergency situations.”