Timeline

June 30, 1969

Nigeria bans International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) aid to Biafra; the American Jewish Emergency Effort for Biafran Relief has raised a total of $185,000

As the Nigeria-Biafra war waged on, starvation became a central concern for civilians in Biafra. As the FMG continued to advance on Biafran forces—eventually shrinking Biafra to one tenth of its original size—Biafra had no access to seaports or roads, thus the only way to import food and other necessary supplies was via airplane. However, the FMG then took control of the relief operations on both sides of the frontlines and prohibited the ICRC from continuing to deliver aid to Biafra. Due to mounting pressure from the international community, Gowon allowed the ICRC to airlift medical supplies to Biafra two weeks after the ban began. Despite this, he did not allow food and other supplies to enter Biafra unless it tightly monitored by Nigerian forces. Thus, almost all aid to Biafra begins to go through the non-authorized night flights run by Joint Church Aid.

Less than a year after its formation, the American Jewish Emergency Effort for Biafran Relief had raised $185,000. The Emergency Effort consisted of 21 national Jewish organizations. The American Jewish Committee was a member of both this coalition and Joint Church Aid. Besides the total funds raised by the coalition at the end of June 1969, many other Jewish organizations, including local synagogues, US held food drives and raised money for Biafra relief.

Ad run by American Jewish Effort for Biafran Relief, New York Times, August 8, 1968 and beyond.