Facing huge floods, Chilean Jews help fellow victims

More than 17,000 of Chile's 20,000 Jews live in Santiago, but the local B'nai B'rith office said Jews have not suffered severe damage.

"Some have their offices or factories flooded, but it is not a matter of survival," said Ram Tapia, executive vice president of the local B'nai B'rith.

Still, the 30 local Jewish institutions are working together to assist people looking for aid. Most of the aid recipients are non-Jews.

At the B'nai B'rith building, some 300 square yards are filled with clothes, milk, diapers and other supplies donated by members of the community.

In addition to donations, 35 Jewish volunteers spent an afternoon in Loprado County near Santiago helping some 2,000 people whose homes were flooded.

"In Chile, we went through a terrible campaign against Israel and the Jews," Tapia said. "We learned we have to act" in cooperation with the general public.