Israeli search and rescue delegation departs to Haiti


Archive photo: IDF rescue

(Communicated by the Prime Minister’s Media Adviser)
Following the tragic earthquake in Haiti, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Wednesday, 13 January 2010, ordered Defense Ministry, Foreign Ministry and Public Security Ministry officials to quickly consider how to render humanitarian assistance to the Caribbean nation. To this end, an advance IDF Home Front Command, IDF Medical Corps and Foreign Ministry delegation has already departed for Haiti.
Israeli Ambassador to the Dominican Republic Amos Radian has been instructed to proceed to Haiti in order to report on the situation there. The Israeli Embassy in the US has been instructed to be in contact with American aid officials in order to coordinate humanitarian assistance and rescue activities and adapt them to the needs of the affected area.

14 January 2010

Prime Minister Netanyahu asked Brig.-Gen. (res.) Shalom Ben-Ari, commander of the IDF Search and Rescue Unit, to convey the solidarity and concern felt by every Israeli towards the disaster that struck the Haitian people. "You are going on a humanitarian mission on behalf of all of Israel," the Prime Minister said, "in accordance with the best Jewish tradition of aiding one’s fellow men."
Prime Minister Netanyahu added, "Our decision to immediately dispatch a large Israeli team of doctors, nurses, medics, search and rescue personnel, medicines and equipment for a field hospital and operating room to Haiti expresses the deep values that have characterized the Jewish people and the State of Israel all throughout our history. Given Israel’s security needs, we have accumulated much search and rescue experience over the years.  We have applied this experience previously in disaster scenes throughout the world – in Mexico, Argentina, Armenia, Kenya, Turkey and elsewhere.  I hope and wish that the Israeli mission will succeed, this time as well, in saving as many lives – children, parents and families – in Haiti as possible."

IDF Spokesperson:

An Israeli delegation including Ministry of Foreign Affairs, IDF Home Front Command and IDF Medical Corp Personnel has departed (13 January) to the Republic of Haiti in order to examine the possibilities of offering aid following the recent earthquake.

The delegation includes engineering, medical, logistics and rescue experts from the IDF Home Front Command.

The IDF Home Front Command is sending search and rescue forces to Haiti, in order to aid with the rescue of the victims of the earthquake in the Caribbean country. During the night from Tuesday to Wednesday, a 7.0 magnitude earthquake struck the Hispaniola island near Haiti’s capital Port-au-Prince. The Medical Officer of the IDF Home Front Command, Dr. Ariel Bar, informed Israel Army Radio that measures have already been taken in order to minimize the preparation period of the operation.

The Home Front Command constantly trains its search and rescue forces to respond accurately to emergencies. It frequently holds search in rescue exercises in cooperation with civilian Israeli bodies and international organizations, such as the Reliant Mermaid X exercise in August 2009, in which Turkish, US and Israeli naval and aerial forces cooperated. The Home Front Command and the Israeli Ministry of Health are also currently holding an international conference for emergency preparedness and response to share it’s experience with hundreds of international officials.

ZAKA International rescue unit en route to Haiti

A four man ZAKA International Rescue Unit delegation left Mexico City this morning (January 14) on a flight for Haiti to offer immediate and urgent assistance at the earthquake disaster in Port au Prince.

ZAKA, recognized by the United Nations-as a volunteer humanitarian organization, will be the first Israeli team to arrive in the disaster area and will immediately begin its assessment and work in cooperation with the local and international emergency authorities.

The Israel-based volunteers were in the region having just completed their work in the recovery operation following the helicopter crash that killed Mexican businessman Moses Saba and three family members earlier this week.

The volunteers, all of whom are trained in emergency medical response and mass casualty rescue and recovery, have gained experience in similar natural disasters such as the Katrina hurricane and the East Asia tsunami.

On completion of their assessment, a decision will be taken on sending additional volunteers, specialist recovery and medical equipment etc.