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In Wake of Deadly Earthquake, Israel Sends Aid Delegations to Nepal

Israel has announced that it will send aid to Nepal, which was struck by an earthquake Saturday. The quake measured 7.8 on the Richter scale, and killed more than 2,500 people.

The Times of Israel reports:

A source in the Prime Minister’s Office said that Israel was to send emergency responders Nepal to help with disaster relief, and the director general of the Foreign Ministry said it was readying humanitarian aid for the disaster stricken country.

The IDF said it would send a rescue team to Nepal Saturday night to assess the scope of aid required.

There were no known Israeli fatalities in the quake in the hours immediately after the disaster, Director-General Nissim Ben-Sheetrit told reporters at a press conference, but the Foreign Ministry was working to get in touch with Israelis in Nepal who were out of communication. One Israeli was reported by his father to have been injured in his legs, and he was being treated at the local Chabad House.

A later report in The Times of Israel added:

The IDF team will focus on search and rescue and creating a full field hospital, which will be operational within 12 hours of landing.

“Because we coming in a relatively short time, we are hoping to find survivors underneath the rubble, so for this stage the main mission is to save lives,” said Col Yoram Loredo, who is the commander of the Search and Rescue Corps and the head of the IDF delegation to Nepal.

The search and rescue team has 60 members and can operate in three separate locations simultaneously. The IDF delegation rented two Boeing 747s to carry personnel and 95 tons of supplies.

In addition the Times reported that Israeli organizations Tevel B’Tzedek and IsraAid are involved in assisting the rescue efforts. Tevel B’Tzedek’s director, Micha Odenheimer told the Times, ““There’s a lot of trust in Nepal for Israel. Israel has a very good name, and [the countries] are really old friends. Israel is very highly thought of by the Nepali army, which is crucial. Israel has a good advantage being able to integrate into the Nepali efforts.”

Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs related the government’s efforts to organize and send aid:

On Saturday evening, 25 April 2015, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu held an assessment of the situation, via telephone, with Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman and Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon. It was agreed to dispatch – as soon as possible – a rescue delegation including medical aid. The delegation will land near the affected zone and make its preparations until it becomes possible to land in Nepal. Israelis in the affected zone will receive the means necessary to return to Israel.

The Prime Minister sent a letter to Nepalese Prime Minister Sushil Koirala, and said that Israel was pained by the disaster that has befallen Nepal. He added that Israel is prepared to aid in rescue efforts and provide medical assistance. Prime Minister Netanyahu informed his Nepalese counterpart that an advance team would leave tonight and added that Israel was prepared to assist in searching for the missing and in providing medical care to the injured. The Prime Minister conveyed his condolences to the families of the victims and wished a full recovery to the injured. He declared that the State of Israel and its citizens stood alongside Nepal in this difficult hour.

President Reuven Rivlin said: “Our thoughts and hearts go out to the people of Nepal dealing with this awful disaster, and with our loved ones who are in distress. The State of Israel is reaching out to help the search and rescue of the many victims.”

In addition, Magen David Adom (MDA), the Israeli chapter of the Red Cross, is sending an aid delegation to Nepal.

The MDA relief mission will consist of doctors, paramedics and members of the Operations Division of MDA. The mission will depart in the morning hours (TBD) in a special plane chartered especially for the mission directly to Kathmandu. The plane will be outfitted with medical supplies medicine, baby formula, in order to reach the babies currently held up in the local Chabad center and also to establish a forward emergency response and treatment post for initial treatment in Nepal. Moreover, MDA is also continually preparing to send out an enlarged relief mission with further medical supplies and heavy equipment to further assist the victims.

MDA continues to be in touch with the relevant local authorities of the disaster stricken zone, with the Israeli Foreign Ministry, the IDF, relevant government officials and the International Red Cross to continuously receive up to date information reports from the scenes and to further prepare the ground for the arrival of the MDA humanitarian mission.

MDA Director General, Eli Bin: “Our mission is to arrive quickly to the Chabad center in Kathmandu and to provide medical attention to the Israeli victims who may require it in the area. We are prepared and ready to contribute from our knowledge and experience in order to treat and assist the victims of this tragedy in Nepal. MDA personnel who will depart for the mission are trained and highly experienced in dealing with extreme situations such as these and I am sure that the cooperation between all those involved along with the local Red Cross representatives will be able to greatly assist in the mission of saving lives under the difficult conditions currently in the area.”

The babies referred to by the MDA, were recently born to Nepalese surrogate mothers. Ynet reported in more detail about them.

The 24 infants born in recent days to surrogate mothers in Nepal are waiting with their Israeli parents to be evacuated following the lethal earthquake which struck the area on Saturday morning.

Nine of the infants were born premature and one is in serious condition. The Foreign Ministry told Ynet that it planned to fly out the families in helicopters from Nepal to neighboring India because the airport in Kathmandu was closed.

The babies will fly to Israel from India. The ministry said the process was complex but was being undertaken “transparently with the Nepalese.”

The IDF released a Hebrew language video of personnel preparing for the rescue mission.

[Photo: MDA ISRAEL / YouTube ]