As of early Sunday morning, the situation center of the Israel Foreign Ministry as well as its missions in Bangkok, New Delhi, and Bombay have been functioning on an emergency basis.

(Communicated by the Foreign Ministry Spokesman)

An earthquake in the magnitude of 8.9 on the Richter scale has struck Southeast Asia, causing extensive damage to the region.

As of early Sunday morning, the situation center of the Foreign Ministry, as well as its missions in Bangkok, New Delhi, and Bombay have been functioning on an emergency basis. Concurrently, crisis centers have been established in Phuket, and Karabai Koh-Phiphi on Thailand.

An emergency medical team has been dispatched this evening to the country hardest hit, Sri Lanka, with the purpose of administering first aid on behalf of the State of Israel. Israel intends to send food as well as medical supplies to the countries hit by the quake.

The situation center of the Foreign Ministry is available 24 hours a day at 972-2-5303155.

Emergency numbers:
Thailand – (66)-2-2049218
India and Sri Lanka – (91)-11-23013238

As of Thursday (December 30), an emotional support hotline will be available for families of Israelis in the earthquake area from 8:00 until midnight – 03-5720862.

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Interior Ministry assistance to Israelis in Southeast Asia
(Communicated by the Interior Ministry Spokeswoman)

In the wake of yesterday’s disaster in Southeast Asia, the Interior Ministry Population Authority has taken the following steps to assist Israelis in the disaster areas:

* The Interior Ministry this morning (Monday), 27 December 2004, delivered 2,000 one-time laissez-passer documents to the Foreign Ministry in order to enable Israelis, who have lost their documents, to return home. The Israeli Embassy in Bangkok has been instructed by the Interior Ministry not to charge for issuing laissez-passer documents.

* Israelis who return home without their documents and who are able to prove that they were in the disaster area will be issued new passports free of charge.

* The Population Authority will issue laissez-passer documents on the spot for family members seeking to leave for Southeast Asia immediately in order to be with their relatives.