(Communicated by the Foreign Ministry Spokesman)
An El Al plane flew to Sri Lanka and Indonesia in Southeast Asia, carrying 85 tons of emergency aid materials donated by Israeli organizations and companies. On the instruction of Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom, Israel Foreign Ministry Director-General Ron Prosor and Deputy Director-General Amos Nadai accompanied the plane.
The plane landed in Colombo, Sri Lanka, on Monday, January 10, where equipment for emergency food kitchens donated by the National Council for Voluntarism, Koach Latet, and the United Kibbutz Movement. The kitchens will provide hot meals for some 4,000 people a day. In addition, these organizations and Magen David Adom contributed medical equipment to set up a mobile clinic. The five kitchen and nine medical personnel arrived on separate flights. Another medical delegation specializing in trauma arrived the same day, funded by the Israeli Health and Foreign Ministries, which will give a week-long seminar to local professionals.
While in Colombo, Director-General Prosor met with the Prime Minister and Deputy Foreign Minister of Sri Lanka, as well as with other senior officials, and discussed ways to continue providing aid from Israel. Ron Prosor conveyed a letter from Foreign Minister Shalom to his counterpart in Sri Lanka, expressing condolences to the people and government of Sri Lanka on the loss of life in the tsunami disaster. His hosts expressed thanks and appreciation for the aid, and noted that Israel was one of the first three countries to send aid to their country. They also expressed interest in promoting relations between the two states, with emphasis on the economic and commercial potential.
From Colombo the plane continued to Indonesia, arriving on January 12. Landing near the tsunami-affected areas of Aceh, Sumatra, 75 tons of emergency materials valued at $450,000 were unloaded. The cargo included 16 tons of baby food donated by Remedia and Materna, 30 tons of rice, flour, water, sugar and grains donated by Koach Latet, as well as the Sugat and Osem Israeli food manufacturers, five tons of plastic sheeting donated by Hovav Plastica and Haogenplast, and 20 tons of medicines produced by Teva Pharmaceuticals, donated through the Latet organization. In addition, donations from Shari Arison Glazer and the Shira Hadasha congregation in Jerusalem funded a water purification system produced by Israeli manufacturer Netafim, which itself donated a second system.
A contribution of some $300,000 by from the Sacta-Rashi Foundation, Mark Solomon and the Friends of Yemin Orde Wingate Youth Village covered the cost of the flight. This contribution, together with that of Koach Latet, also provided ten communications networks produced by Gilat Satellite Networks, which donated two additional networks. El Al provided the plane at minimal cost, and the Defense Ministry and Maman provided quick, efficient, free service at the airport.
Director-General Ron Prosor was received in Indonesia by senior officials, who expressed great appreciation for the Israeli aid, the first of its kind. Prosor conveyed a letter of condolence from Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom to his Indonesian counterpart. They also discussed continued mid- and long-term Israeli aid.
Regarding the aid to Indonesia, Ron Prosor told Ynet: "This is the largest Muslim country in the world, with which we do not have diplomatic relations. I feel that they received our aid as it was given, from heart to heart, Jews helping Muslims in time of distress. The aid will reach thousands of orphans who lost their families in the disaster."