Monday, April 27, 2015

Israel Comes Forward to Help Nepal After Earthquake

Two Israeli planes bearing 250 rescue workers took off for Nepal Sunday as Israel moved quickly into its traditional role as an early responder to natural disasters around the world.

The Israeli delegation includes medical personnel who will set up a field hospital in Katmandu as well as search-and-rescue teams, consisting mostly of military personnel from Israel’s Home Front Command, trained in rescuing people trapped by collapsed structures. Aiding them will be rescue dogs.

Israel has decades of experience in such operations, from South America to Japan, Turkey and pre-revolutionary Iran. Apart from humanitarian considerations, these efforts permit Israel, whose role on the world stage is often clouded for political reasons, to offer a different image. “You are being sent on an important mission,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told the delegation Sunday. “This is the real face of Israel.”

Israel also has practical reasons for rushing rescue teams to the remote Himalayan state.  The country has long been popular with young Israelis, particularly those who have recently completed obligatory military service, to trek in the mountain foothills. Some 200 Israeli trekkers, many in isolated regions, have not been heard from since the quake on Saturday. Israeli officials say the reason in most, if not all, cases is the breakdown in the communication infrastructure in Nepal caused by the quake. Among the equipment the Israeli planes are carrying are communication devices that can operate via satellites.

Some Israelis have found shelter in tents set up on the grounds of the Israeli embassy and of the Local Chabad center. A plane departed Israel early Sunday to pick up the newborn infants and their parents.

On Saturday, within hours of the earthquake, the Israel Defense Forces dispatched seven search-and-rescue experts to Katmandu to coordinate the efforts of the Israeli delegation with local authorities.

A delegation from ZAKA, Ichud Hatzalah and F.I.R.S.T under the flagship Isralife head out to Nepal

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First Israeli rescue flight from Nepal arrives in Israel

Breakfast At Nepal Chabad House Monday Morning

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