Israeli humanitarian and medical aid to Sri Lanka


Israeli soldiers pack humanitarian supplies for Sri Lanka (©Reuters/Nir Elias)

(Communicated by the IDF and MDA)

In accordance with the decision of the Minister of Defense and in coordination with the Foreign Ministry, and given the dimensions of the devastation, the IDF has sent a humanitarian aid delegation and medical supplies to Sri Lanka.

In the wake of the massive international assistance and following discussions by Foreign Ministry officials with their Sri Lankan counterparts, it was decided Tuesday, 28 December 2004, to send humanitarian aid and medical supplies to the area of the devastation.

Following the request of the Sri Lankan government, a shipment of medicines, water, food, blankets and generators was sent, accompanied by a delegation of some 50 medical and rescue personnel.

The humanitarian aid and medical equipmant sent overnight to Sri Lanka contains more than 82 tons of supplies including: 10,000 blankets, 3680 liters of mineral water, 12 tons of food, 17.5 tons of baby food, over nine tons of medicine and additional supplies such as generators, tents, beds and mattresses.

 Israeli humanitarian and medical aid to Sri Lanka

IDF soldiers prepare packages for Sri Lanka
(IDF Spokesman)

 Israeli humanitarian and medical aid to Sri Lanka

IDF humanitarian mission is welcomed in Sri Lanka
(IDF Spokesman)

In addition, Magen David Adom, in coordination with the International Red Cross, at midnight Tuesday dispatched – on an El Al flight – a shipment of medicines to Sri Lanka in order to aid trauma victims.

The shipment contained 4,080 bottles of serum albumin (a protein produced from blood plasma for use in treating trauma victims, and patients suffering from malnourishment), worth over $100,000.  The donation was welcomed by the Sri Lankan authorities, and will be  put to immediate use to relieve the struck nation.

 Israeli humanitarian and medical aid to Sri Lanka

(Magen David Adom)

Avi Zohar, MDA’s Director General issued a statement on Wednesday, December 29:

“MDA Israel, in cooperation with the International Red Cross is forming a mission delegation with medical and logistics supplies and equipment, with the aim of setting up a self-sufficient field clinic in a remote area, or combining forces with another national society. We are waiting for the Red Cross to inform us when the delegation can board the plane, and we hope to know within a matter of hours.

MDA has sent out a large cargo of albumin, a protein that accounts for 55 percent of the total protein in blood plasma. Its major function is to help maintain the osmotic pressure between the blood vessels and tissues, and it is of utmost importance during this overwhelming calamity, as protein levels drop as the result of severe wounds, and the casualties similarly suffer from drastic malnutrition and trauma.

MDA Israel upholds the principles of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement, and is proud and honored to share a close cooperation and friendship with the worldwide organization to which it aspires to belong.” 

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Update – January 4, 2005

4,000 Magen David Adom volunteers assist collection of relief for Sri Lanka

A huge four-day nationwide food began Monday with tons of key products collected at supermarkets throughout Israel being immediately dispatched to the tsunami disaster zone in Southeast Asia.

Magen David Adom has stationed over 4,000 of its volunteers and workers in front of supermarkets across Israel to encourage the Israeli public to donate basic food items to assist tens of thousands of homeless in Sri Lanka.

The relief items and food collected will be transported to Sri Lanka on a special ship donated by an Israeli company. This activity is helping enhance the overall fundraising activity of relief items started yesterday by members of the Israel Campaign for South East Asia Disaster.

Upon its arrival in Colombo IsraAID members as well as Magen David Adom and the Red Cross will be distributing the hundreds of tons of relief items to the people affected by the tsunami.

At the end of the first day, MDA reported that the Israeli public, including Israeli Arabs from northern Israel and East Jerusalem, donated 2.5 tons of flour, 4 tons of rice, 920 liters of oil, 2.5 tons of sugar, 1.5 tons of pasta, 39, 000 liters of mineral water, 900 kilos of dried beans and 700 kilos of jams and conserves. "We had initially chosen just two days for the food drive, but the response has been so incredible, that we’ve decided to extend it for another two days and ship the goods on Friday from Ashdod port," said Israeli Magen David Adom’s International Director, Mr. Yoni Yagodovsky.

Magen David is also playing an active role in the coordination of humanitarian activities. Two representatives left Israel on Monday January 3rd to attend an emergency meeting in Geneva where all of the Federation members, among them Magen David Adom,  discussed ways of enhancing their assistance to the affected countries.

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Update – January 10, 2005

Israeli Relief Team of 14 Leaves for Sri Lanka
(Communicated by IsraAID)

Last night, the Israel Campaign For South East Asia Disaster Relief, spearheaded by IsraAID, sent a humanitarian team of 14 medical and logistical personnel to Sri Lanka to assist thousands of people affected by the tsunami.

IsraAID has put together and coordinated a team comprising medical personnel from Magen David Adom and logistical personnel from the Humanitarian Arm of the Kibbutz Movement. The group, headed by Ms. Gal Lusky and Dr. Zvi Beigenberg, will be working near the southernmost city of Matara and laying the groundwork for future Israeli-Jewish emergency medical and feeding projects in the field. The team will be bringing relief items including pharmaceuticals, kitchen supplies and tents to be used for the projects. 

The team will establish a field clinic, which will offer locals medical assistance with an emphasis on pediatrics and infectious diseases. Along side the clinic, a Jewish Emergency Feeding Station will be erected with three large kitchens offering nutritious meals to thousands of people left homeless.

Among the groups and supporters taking part in the Israel Campaign For South East Asia Disaster Relief are: American Jewish Committee; B’nai B’rith International; Magen David Adom; Yad Sarah; Hadassah; Council for Israeli International Businesses; National Youth Movements; Naamat; Ve’ahavta; Meir Panim; The National Food Bank Organization; Lions Club and other non-governmental groups in Israel and around the world.

Supporting the national campaign are various government offices such as the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Education, Ministry of Welfare and Tel Aviv Municipality.

Magen David Adom sends tracing officer to Sri Lanka
(Communicated by the MDA Spokesman)

In the wake of the tsunami that devastated large areas of South East Asia on 26 December 2004, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) asked Magen David Adom in Israel to lend the services of its Tracing Officer – Ms. Elena Singer – for a 5-week mission in Sri Lanka as an ICRC delegate from mid-January until mid-February.

During her mission to Sri Lanka, Ms. Singer will assist the local ICRC tracing team in its search for those persons displaced or missing because of the tsunami.

This is the first time that a MDA officer has been selected as an international delegate to the ICRC.

The MDA Tracing Unit renewed its activities in the year 2002. Supported by the ICRC and working through its worldwide network of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, it provides services to Israelis wishing to re-establish family links. The MDA Tracing Unit has already closed more than 2500 files of the over 3000  written requests for assistance that it has received and has successfully reunited 67 persons with their families, in Israel and abroad. Ms. Singer visits the archives of the International Tracing Services Center in Arolsen, Germany on a regular basis to follow up on unresolved Israeli cases.

Ms. Singer’s mission to Sri Lanka as an international delegate of the ICRC represents an outstanding witness to the close relationship that prevails today between MDA, the Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement, including the ICRC, the International Federation and National Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies.