A 148 member delegation is set to leave for the Philippines tomorrow, Wednesday, November 13, 2013, in order to provide search, rescue, and medical services in the Typhoon-struck city of Tacloban, capital of the Leyte Province.
An advanced multi-department medical facility, equipped with approximately 100 tons of humanitarian and medical supplies from Israel, will be rapidly established in the city of Tacloban to provide medical care for disaster casualties. The facility will be constructed of a children’s department, a women’s department, an ambulatory care department, and a general admission department, operated by IDF doctors, nurses, paramedics, pharmacists, mental health professionals, x-ray technician, and lab workers.
The delegation comprises of officials in the National Search and Rescue Unit of the Home Front Command headed by the unit commander, Colonel Ramtin Sabti, as well as senior doctors in the IDF Medical Corps, headed by the Vice Surgeon General of the IDF Medical Corps, Colonel Doctor Dudu Dagan.
Yesterday, Monday, November 11, 2013, a lead expedition of five search, rescue, and medical experts arrived in Tacloban, Philippines and formed a situation assessment determining the urgency for a rapid IDF response. Based on this assessment the of the Chief of the General Staff, Lieutenant General Benjamin (Benny) Gantz, order to deploy a large-scale delegation to the disaster zone.
Lt. Col. Peter Lerner, IDF Spokesman: “The Home Front Command has soldiers and officers who excel in the fields of search and rescue and highly professional medical doctors experienced in such complex missions. Over the years they have been to Japan, Haiti, Ghana, Bulgaria, and Turkey, where they diligently donated from their resources and knowledge to those in need.”
The IDF National Search and Rescue Unit, founded in 1983, is a highly skilled force trained to execute special search and rescue missions, both in Israel and abroad. The unit consists primarily of reservists who are always on call, with prepared kits to enable immediate departure, and a small core of soldiers in mandatory service. In addition to the rescue teams, the unit employs doctors, engineers, mechanical engineering equipment operators and rescue dog handlers.
Past IDF operations in calamity-struck regions include the delegation to Haiti in January 2010 which included a search and rescue team, a maternity ward, intensive care units, pediatrics, surgeons, and pharmaceutical supplies. In April 2011, an IDF delegation traveled to Japan following a devastating earthquake treating 220 casualties. In January of 2006, 80 soldiers and officers flew to Nairobi, Kenya, following a building collapse, rescuing two people trapped under ruins and recovering seven lost bodies. Additional missions took place in Turkey in 1999 following where IDF rescued 12 survivors and recovered 140 bodies, as well as in Kenya in 1998 where soldiers rescued three people and recovered 95 bodies.
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