Sunday, January 31, 2010

The Philadelphia Bulletin: Israeli Delegation Returns from Haiti

by David Bedein

Jerusalem - The Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) medical and rescue team sent to Haiti concluded its operations Wednesday.

The delegation’s 236 members, including 218 IDF soldiers and officers and 18 civilians, left Haiti on board an airplane chartered from El-Al and landed at Ben-Gurion International Airport Thursday morning. On board the airplane is a five-year old-child from Haiti who is scheduled to go through a heart surgery in order to correct a heart deficiency.

The delegation left 30 tons of medical equipment for use in the ongoing aid effort. This includes bandaging gear, surgery equipment, two incubators and other medical accessories as well as 1150 blankets, 30 large-sized tents, 500 mattresses, 200 sleeping bags and kitchen equipment. The equipment will be distributed to tent-cities in different locations in Haiti, under the coordination of the Israeli ambassador in the country.

On Tuesday, the delegation held a ceremony to mark the closing of the field hospital set up in Haiti.

Col. Itzik Kryce, commander of the field hospital, conveyed his great appreciation to the medical staff and said, “You were a drop of hope in a sea of desperation and sometimes made the difference between life and death. It is a great privilege, and you’ve done it as human beings, following the spirit of the IDF and in accordance with the values of the IDF Medical Corps.

“We came here to lend a hand and provide assistance, but, above all, in order to provide hope and to show that even in the worst situations, a human being can be a symbol of hope to others, wherever they may be.”

The delegation had departed for the disaster area 12 days ago comprised of rescue teams from the IDF Home Front Command and Medical personnel from the IDF Medical Corps. The delegation also included a logistical section, security personnel, C4I personnel, search and identification personnel and additional assistance.

During its stay in Haiti, the delegation treated 1,110 patients, conducted 319 successful surgeries, delivered 16 babies, including three by caesarian sections, and saved many from within the ruins.

The IDF Medical Corps and Home Front Command will now hold a series of briefings following the activity in Haiti in order to improve their preparedness for similar future events.

View this story at Israel Behind the News

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