The Jewish community has responded to World Jewish Relief’s ‘Indonesia Earthquake and Tsunami Appeal’ in response to a devastating earthquake on the island of Sulawesi last Friday.

Over 1400 lives have been lost following the eruption but fatalities are expected to significantly rise.

UK Jewish communal organisations have backed the emergency appeal.

“The response from the Jewish community has been tremendous despite our office being shut for two days over Yom Tov this week,” said Paul Anticoni WJR chief executive on Wednesday.

“Phones have been busy all day with staff and volunteers working hard to ensure we can do everything we can to help the people suffering from the aftermath of this double tragedy.”

The 7.4 magnitude earthquake resulted in buildings and homes destroyed or washed away as a tidal water engulfed coastal areas with communications severely hit.

Rescuers attempted to free survivors trapped inside rubble from collapsed homes, hotels and shopping centres.

But attempts have been hindered as the airport runway was badly damaged and vital access roads were blocked by debris and landslides.

Makeshift open-air clinics though have been set up to deal with casualties.

There is also growing about the coastal town of Dongolla, home to 330,000 people.

The WJR emergency team is assessing the situation to determine the best support.

Mr Anticoni explained, “The situation in Sulawesi after the earthquake and tsunami is devastating.

“People need urgent assistance to help them with the immediate physical and emotional effects of losing their homes, livelihoods and loved one.

“We are in contact with organisations working in Palu and Donggala to decide on what assistance we can best offer. This might include food and non-food items such as hygiene and sanitation kits and medical support.”

“We are once again shown how vulnerable humans are to the forces of nature,” he added.

“The horror of what those affected have been through is devastating but Jewish tradition teaches that whilst we cannot stop natural disasters, we can choose how we respond to them.

“Please help us act now to help the people of Indonesia hit by this disaster.”

Organisations backing WJR’s appeal include the Board of Deputies, Jewish Leadership Council, JW3, United Synagogue, UJS and Zionist Youth Council.