The IDF Rescue Mission
Immediately after news of the earthquake disaster in Turkey, the Israel government made preparations to extend emergency assistance. On August 17, Israel Air Force planes airlifted the Israeli team, comprising 250 persons, as well as sophisticated rescue equipment and rescue dogs. The Israeli team began almost immediately to work at several locations, in coordination with the Turkish government.
On August 18, an additional IAF plane was sent to Turkey, carrying the staff and equipment for a field hospital, which will comprise two hospital wards for adults and children, an isolation room, an operating room, an X-ray laboratory, two clinics, and medical equipment.
The Search and Rescue team of the IDF Home Front Command, established in its present form in 1984, performs search and rescue operations in Israel and abroad, in both routine and emergency situations.
IDF Search and Rescue photo gallery
Latest rescue updates
Emergency Aid: Latest Update
(Jerusalem Post, August 25) – The aid effort for Turkey continued in high gear. One shipment of over 50 tons of supplies is already en route to Istanbul by sea, and some supplies have already been sent by air freight. An even larger shipment, organized by the Agriculture Ministry and the voluntary groups, is due to leave Ashdod port tomorrow and another ship on Saturday night.
Among the items Israel is sending are hundreds of tents, containers and prefabricated dwellings to house hundreds of thousands of Turks made homeless by the earthquake.
The effort is to focus on establishing an "Israel center" in Golcuk, where a naval base was seriously damaged, which will include housing, health clinics, kindergartens, schools and other facilities.
Foreign Ministry Increases Emergency Assistance to Turkey – August 23, 1999
Finance Minister Avraham Shohat yesterday instructed the Customs and VAT Administration to donate unclaimed goods that have collected in warehouses to the victims of the Turkish earthquake. A preliminary examination has found considerable clothing which will be sent to Turkey today (Tuesday), 24.8.99. Additional searches will be conducted to find other appropriate goods which can be sent.
(Communicated by Finance Ministry Spokesman, August 24, 1999)
The Israeli public launched a spontaneous campaign to assist the earthquake victims in Turkey, in an impressive display of friendship and goodwill. In the course of a single day, thousands of Israelis stood in line to donate 25 tons of equipment – blankets, clothing, food and more – which will be shipped to Turkey. Donations continue to expand as more and more collection centers are opened around the country. Volunteers engage in sorting and packing the material for shipment. The Turkish ambassador in Israel expressed his thanks on behalf of the Turkish people.
Aid for Turkish quake victims set to leave today
(Jerusalem Post, August 23) – A ship loaded with over 50 tons of supplies for victims of the earthquake in Turkey is set to leave Ashdod port today bound for Istanbul.
Airlift of Aid to Earthquake Victims in Turkey (Industry and Trade Ministry) – August 22, 1999
IDF Rescue Mission: Latest Update
IDF rescue team returns from Turkey
(Jerusalem Post, August 25) – The Home Front Command rescue team returned home yesterday after a week in Turkey during which they rescued 12 survivors of the earthquake and uncovered 146 bodies.
IDF Field Hospital in Turkey – Update August 24
Boy, 3, rescued by IDF in Turkey
(Jerusalem Post, August 24) – The IDF Home Front Command rescue team returns today after saving lives and defying the odds almost daily by plucking survivors out of the rubble in Turkey.
Israeli rescuers won’t go home yet; Group has saved nine lives and found 132 bodies in the rubble
(Ha’aretz, August 23) – Israeli rescue teams will continue working in the Turkish towns of Cinarcik and Gulacuk despite the Turkish government’s declaration yesterday that there are no chances of finding any more survivors in the earthquake rubble.
Nine-year-old Israeli girl rescued after 98 hours in quake rubble
(Jerusalem Post, August 22) – Defying all odds, the Israeli rescue team in Cinarcik early yesterday rescued nine-year-old Shiran Franco, who had been buried under seven floors of rubble for over 98 hours. Shiran’s twin brother Arieh, who was asleep in the same room as she was when the earthquake hit Turkey Tuesday morning, was found dead.
Quake toll may reach 40,000
(Jerusalem Post, August 22) – As the official death toll from last Tuesday’s earthquake in Turkey rose above 12,000 yesterday, authorities turned to the difficult task of finding shelter for hundreds of thousands of people left homeless by the disaster.
Although the hope of finding survivors was fading, the IDF rescue team continued to dig in the rubble.
As of last night, the IDF rescue teams had succeeded in pulling out nine survivors from the rubble since they arrived. The IDF field hospital has had a steady stream of cases, with 150 patients being treated last night. IDF doctors have so far performed nine operations and delivered three babies. The destruction in the area where the IDF set up its field hospital was extensive.
The call of friendship
(Jerusalem Post, August 20) – Three days after the most devastating earthquake in the history of modern Turkey, it is still not possible to reach many of its victims, still buried under the rubble of thousands of collapsed buildings. Such tragedies spawn many stories of heroism and inspire unusual acts of generosity. Among these acts of magnanimity, the impressive size of the Israeli relief effort should be a source of pride, and a measure of the closeness of the Israeli-Turkish relationship.
||Prime Minister’s Media Advisor – August 17/18, 1999|
||Summary of Israeli Humanitarian Relief Operations: 1997-1998|