As news of the earthquake in Haiti started to emerge, the Israeli government immediately began to make plans to send a delegation to aid in the relief efforts.
"Our decision to immediately dispatch a large delegation of doctors, nurses, medics, rescue forces as well as drugs and medical equipment to Haiti expresses the deep values which have characterized the Jewish people and the State of Israel throughout history," Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said.
On Friday, two Israeli jets carrying nearly 10 tons of medical equipment, doctors, nurses, medics, police forces and an elite search and rescue team landed in Haiti. The 220-person delegation is led by Brig. Gen. Shalom Ben-Aryeh (Res.), the commander of the Home Front Command's National Search and Rescue Unit.
Thus far, the Israeli search and rescue units have rescued 70 people from beneath the rubble.
In addition to deploying search and rescue units to find survivors, Israel established a field hospital that includes 40 doctors, 24 nurses, medics, paramedics, x-ray equipment and personnel, a pharmacy, an emergency room, two surgery rooms, an incubation ward, a children's ward, a maternity ward, and more. The field hospital is capable of treating nearly 500 victims per day and performing initial surgeries.
The IDF's chief medical officer, Brig. Gen. Nachman Esh, said that while the field hospital will largely treat trauma patients, similar to those encountered in a war, specialists in various other fields have also been sent.
"We expect to have to deal mainly with trauma cases, but when we arrive there, we also expect to encounter the secondary wave of infections and diseases, as well as the routine cases that the local hospitals would usually deal with," Brig. Gen. Esh said.
- To see a special report on CNN about the Israeli Field Hospital, click here.
- To see how the Israeli Field Hospital saved the lives of a newborn baby and its mother, watch this ABC Special.
- To view the latest directly from the Israeli delegation in Haiti, click here.
May they know pain no more.
Consulate of Israel