Israel Defense Force Sends 147-Member Medical Team to the Philippines (VIDEO)
The Israel Defense Forces said on Wednesday that Israel is sending a 147-member delegation to the Philippines to provide search, rescue, and medical services after the damage caused by Typhoon Haiyan that struck on Sunday.
The IDF said that following an assessment by an advance team earlier in the week, it will establish a medical facility in Daanbantayan, in the northern province of Cebu, which suffered the greatest damage from the storm.
The medical facility will be equipped with 100 tons of humanitarian and medical supplies from Israel, and will be operated by IDF doctors, nurses, paramedics, pharmacists, mental health professionals, an x-ray technician, and lab workers.
The delegation comprises members of the National Search and Rescue Unit of the Home Front Command headed by unit commander Colonel Ramtin Sabti, as well as senior doctors in the IDF Medical Corps, headed by Vice Surgeon General of the IDF Medical Corps Colonel Doctor Dudu Dagan.
On Sunday night, a six-member advance team that included four people from the IDF Home Front Command and two from the Foreign Ministry went to assess the damage. The team landed in Manila at 20:00 local time and departed for Tacloban on Monday morning. The IsraAID humanitarian organization also sent a team of seven medical professionals to Tacloban City.
The Israeli aid comes after Israel’s President Shimon Peres and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu both wrote to Philippines President Benigno Aquino.
“Our hearts go out to the families who have lost their loved ones in this terrible natural disaster, and our prayers are with you and your people in this time of mourning and hardship,” Peres said. Netanyahu wrote: “I hope that Israel’s assistance will help alleviate the suffering of those affected by this terrible disaster.”
Israel frequently offers aid in the wake of disasters overseas, such as the earthquakes in Haiti, in January 2010, and in Turkey, in 2011. Israeli doctors were also on the scene in Boston this year to aid in the treatment of bombing victims at the Boston Marathon.
Paul Hirschson, a spokesman at Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, told The Algemeiner that a group of Israeli tourists who were thought to have been missing in the Philippines have been found.
“There were six Israelis missing , including a group of four who were deaf,” Hirschson said. “Their families lost contact with them, but we found them.”
“Besides their own difficulties, the communications there are difficult.”
Watch a video taken by the IDF team in Tacloban, below: