In November, Typhoon Yolanda ravaged the Philippines, killing more than 6,300 and displacing 4.1 million. It was the strongest typhoon ever recorded at landfall, destroying more than 1.1 million homes and businesses.
B'nai B'rith International responded by opening its Disaster Relief Fund, collecting tens of thousands of dollars for humanitarian relief. Together, in partnership with IsraAID, B'nai B'rith set about rebuilding the infrastructure in the Vesayas district (pop. 11 million).
Recently, Alan Schneider, director of the B’nai B’rith World Center in Jerusalem, officially re-dedicated a high school building and stand-alone classrooms to the acting principal.
Schneider unveiled a sign in Hebrew, English and Bisaya that read: “These buildings were restored by B’nai B’rith and IsraAID following Super-Typhoon Yolanda in support of the valiant efforts if the people of Ormoc to rebuild their lives. “
In his remarks, Schneider said: “We are touched that you allowed us into your community to assist in a very hands-on way in the recovery of Ormoc from the devastation of Typhoon Yolanda. The signature of all of this and other projects we have undertaken in Ormoc is that they were conceived with major input and participation of members of your community.
"The completion of the rebuilding project is a milestone in the resilience shown by this community in building back for the destruction that hit here just over six months ago and to your dedication to the education of the young generation."
Philippines weekly Leyteno Peryodiko, the second largest regional newspaper, covered the moving event:
He also recognized the role of the Philippines in serving as a refuge for Jews escaping the Holocaust and in voting in favor of the U.N. Partition Plan in 1947. Schneider referenced other B’nai B’rith-supported IsraAID aid activities that began just two days after Yolanda made landfall with a medical mission that treated over 5,000 patients in Tacloban, Ormoc, Kananga and Albuera municipalities and provided over two tons of medical supplies.