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Jews lend a hand to help Balkan flood victims

Macedonia’s tiny Jewish community, JDC distribute aid throughout country; torrential rain has left 17 people dead in capital Skopje

A volunteer delivering hygiene relief kits to Macedonians affected by a devastating flood that hit the region in August 2016. (Courtesy of JDC.JTA)
A volunteer delivering hygiene relief kits to Macedonians affected by a devastating flood that hit the region in August 2016. (Courtesy of JDC.JTA)

Members of the tiny Jewish community of Macedonia and the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee distributed hundreds of aid packages to victims of deadly floods that forced thousands out of their homes in the Balkan nation.

The Joint, or JDC, along with the Jewish Community of the Republic of Macedonia and the Holocaust Fund of the Jews from Macedonia, created and distributed 1,000 hygiene relief kits throughout the hardest-hit areas, JDC said in a statement last week.

Macedonia, which used to have more than 10,000 Jews before the Holocaust, currently has about 250, according to JDC and European Jewish Congress.

The packages, created at a Jewish community volunteer event on August 14, will help address personal and household hygiene needs, a critical component in flood recovery zones.

Torrential rain and floods in the Macedonian capital have left at least 17 people dead, six missing and sent 60 others to the hospital, authorities said earlier this month.

Koce Trajanovski, mayor of the Macedonian capital described the damage as “the worst Skopje has ever seen,” The Wall Street Journal reported.

“Our response puts into action the Jewish teaching that every individual life has value and it is our duty to offer care and relief in in times of disaster, no matter a person’s background or faith,” Alan Gill, CEO of the JDC, said in a statement earlier this week.

The hygiene relief kits distributed included medical soap, disinfection solutions and cleaning supplies to sanitize homes filled with flood debris. They reached approximately 5,000 people in Stajkovci, Smiljkovci, Brnjarci, Indzikovo and Chento, JDC said.

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