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February 12, 2023 5:32 pm

More Than 300 Patients Treated in Israeli Field Hospital in Turkey, Diplomat Says

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Members of Israel’s medical aid delegation to Turkey in February 2023. Photo: IDF

More than 300 people have been treated in a field hospital set up by Israel in Turkey, the deputy chief of Israel’s mission in Turkey wrote on Sunday.

The hospital, which has been fully operational since Friday morning, provides a range of care, from intensive care and pediatrics to general surgery and orthopedics. It was set up by the Israel Defense Forces in Kahramanmaraş, the epicenter of one of two massive earthquakes that devastated southern Turkey and neighboring Syria on Monday.

The deputy chief of mission, Nadav Markman, recounted the story of one patient, a 4-year-old boy who was rescued by Israeli teams several days after the earthquakes. “He arrived in a very cold state with low temperature at the emergency department,” wrote Markman. “He was treated by our emergency and intensive care team and transferred to the intensive care unit for further treatment with some improvement in his condition.”

IDF search and rescue teams — totalling more than 150 personnel — arrived in Turkey shortly after the earthquakes and managed to extract 19 living people from disaster sites, the military said. These included multiple children, among them a 14-year-old girl and her father. They also retrieved the bodies of Saul and Fortuna Cenudioglu, the elderly heads of the Jewish community in Antakya.

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On Thursday, Israel’s Chief Rabbi David Lau released a statement urging that during the “holy shabbat,” field hospitals should “continue to function normally.”

Israel’s search and rescue delegation is concluding operations and expected to return to Israel in the coming days, the IDF said on Sunday, though the medical aid delegation, which includes more than 230 participants, will continue its work. Experts have said that the vast majority of earthquake survivors are extracted within 72 hours after the disaster, with injuries, adverse weather conditions, and a lack of food and water increasingly reducing the likelihood of a rescue as time goes on.

Also on Sunday, an aid delegation from the Israeli charity United Hatzalah announced that it would cease operations in Turkey and return home in light of “a significant security threat on the Israeli rescue and relief mission in Turkey.”

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