On Wednesday, November 27, the IDF (Zahal) humanitarian delegation to the Philippines will depart back to Tel Aviv. The delegation, composed of both medical professionals and Home Front Command search and rescue experts, focused on providing medical treatment to casualties of Typhoon Haiyan, and repairing damaged Infrastructures such as schools and water facilities.
The delegation is expected to land in Israel at 3:00 PM on Wednesday, along with two Filipino children who will be transferred to the Schneider Hospital in Tel Aviv for further medical care. Upon the delegation’s arrival in Israel, a military ceremony will be conducted at the Ben Gurion International Airport, during which Hanukkah candles will be lit, marking the first night of the Jewish holiday.
Over a time span of nearly two weeks, 2686 patients, out of which 848 were children, have been treated in the field hospital in Bogo City by IDF (Zahal) doctors. Other than casualties and injuries suffered from the typhoon, medical treatment was provided to those who needed it, such as people suffering from chronic illnesses and other medical conditions.
Col. Dr. David Dagan, commander of the IDF (Zahal) field hospital: “The experts we brought are on the forefront of their fields in Israel. The doctors, nurses, and medical staff [who came] here left their homes, families, and jobs, immediately upon hearing there was a need…motivated by compassion and guided by the values of human dignity and friendship.”
60 surgeries were performed, including cancerous tumor removals and eye surgeries. Most of the surgeries performed were emergency, life-saving surgeries that required urgent medical attention. In addition, the IDF (Zahal) Gynecological team was involved in approximately 36 births.
- IDF (Zahal) doctors treat patients in the Philippines field hospital
- IDF (Zahal) pediatric specialist, Col. Dr. Albukirk, on the job
In a ceremony held in Bogo City today, at the reopening of a school repaired by the IDF (Zahal) delegation after being damaged by Typhoon Haiyan, Col. Dr. David Dagan spoke to the medical team: “You operated under challenging circumstances and made difficult decisions while maintaining the highest level of professionalism. Your work was impeccable and substantial, truly exemplifying what it means to be a medical professional.”
Some of the IDF (Zahal) medical and rescue equipment will remain in the Philippines, to be used by the German-Austrian delegation. The remaining equipment consists of 8 tents, generators, various medicines and an X-ray machine.
Home Front Command soldiers and officers worked on repairing schools damaged by the storm. Four different schools were repaired and reopened entirely, welcoming children on their first days of classes after the Typhoon struck. In addition, IDF (Zahal) psychologists provided mental counseling to local teachers in order to give them the tools to ease children back into routine life.
IDF (Zahal) delegation rebuilding school in Bogo City, the Philippines
As a result of Typhoon Haiyan, regions in the Philippines suffered water and food shortages. The delegation worked towards establishing infrastructure that would allow water and food supply to the locals. Water facilities were established in mountainous areas and caravan parks, and water containers and rice were distributed. The delegation also constructed water infrastructure in schools.
Col. Yoram Laredo, deputy commander of the IDF (Zahal) humanitarian delegation, stated at the school’s reopening ceremony today: “Our soldiers worked constantly to replace ceilings, build walls, and to once again make the Bogo central school a home away from home to the children of Bogo City.”