IDF Haiti Delegation to Return to Israel

Five-year-old child from Haiti, due for heart surgery in Israel, is aboard the plane. Over 30 tons of medical equipment and supplies will remain in Haiti for the local population.

The Israel Defense Forces’ medical and rescue team which was sent to Haiti, concluded its operations today, January 27, 2010. The delegation’s 236 members, including 218 IDF soldiers and officers and 18 civilians, left Haiti on a plane chartered by El Al and will land at Ben Gurion International Airport tomorrow at 8:30 AM. The delegation will be welcomed in a military ceremony, beginning at 9:00 AM, in the presence of senior Israeli officials and senior IDF commanders.

Aboard the plane 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 bandages, surgical equipment, two incubators and other medical accessories, as well as 1,150 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 to Haiti.

Yesterday, the delegation held a ceremony to mark the closing of the field hospital in Haiti. Colonel Itzik Kryce, commander of the field hospital, conveyed his great appreciation to the medical staff, saying “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,” Col. Kryce added.

The delegation left for the disaster-struck area 12 days ago, on January 15, 2010, 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 more than 1,110 patients, conducted 319 successful surgeries, delivered 16 babies, including three caesarian sections, and rescued survivors from the collapsed buildings.

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