The first Israeli delegation landed in the capital of Port-Au-Prince on Friday evening (15 January) and established its operation center in a soccer field near the airport. On Tuesday night (Jan. 19), an additional team joined the IDF forces operating in Haiti since the earthquake, consisting of GOC of the Home Front Command, Maj. Gen. Yair Golan, CEO of the Ministry of Health, Dr. Eitan Hai-Am, and the Chief Medical officer, Brig. Gen. Nahman Esh. After landing, the team arrived at the IDF field hospital and was updated on the current situation regarding the treatment of victims.
Israeli Ambassador Amos Radian and Maj. Gen Yair Golan, head of the IDF Home Front Command, met with the Prime Minister of Haiti and toured the demolished UN headquarters and other disaster areas in order to asses the continuation of Israeli aid.
During its stay in Haiti, the medical delegation treated more than 1,110 patients, conducted 319 successful surgeries, delivered 16 births including three in Cesarian sections. The IDF Search and Rescue force has rescued or assisted in the rescue of 4 individuals.
IDF medical and rescue team concludes mission in Haiti - Delegation to return to Israel on Thursday
(Communicated by the IDF Spokesperson)
The IDF medical and rescue team sent to Haiti has concluded its operations Wednesday, January 27, 2010. The delegation's 236 members, including 218 IDF soldiers and officers and 18 civilians, will leave Haiti on board an air-plane chartered from El-Al and will land at the Ben-Gurion International Airport tomorrow at 8:30. The delegation will be welcomed in a military ceremony (opening at 9:00) at the presence of senior Israeli officials and senior IDF Commanders.
On board the air 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 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.
Yesterday, 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. Col. Kryce also said: "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 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 1110 patients, conducted 319 successful surgeries, delivered 16 births including three in Caesarian sections and saved many from within the ruins.
- "We worked until we collapsed" (Israel 21c)
A doctor with the Israeli delegation tells ISRAEL21c what it was like to try to save as many lives as possible in Haiti, after the devastating earthquake.
Jan 28: PM Netanyahu welcomes home the Israeli delegation to Haiti
On January 13th, tragedy struck Haiti. Approximately forty hours later, maybe even thirty-six hours later, when I requested that a delegation be sent, they were already on their way! Less than one day later, they were already in the field. The plan was to erect the field hospital within twenty hours - it took just ten. The 240 members of the delegation - officers, regular soldiers and reservists - began working in record time. The Chief of General Staff told me that the other armies were in awe, expressing their amazement at how quickly our soldiers arrived and were ready to work.
Anyone familiar with the IDF, and the ever-changing situations and impossible missions it has dealt with in the past, was not surprised. Thorough planning is a necessity in any mission. However, the greatest test of our power, both as a people and an army, is our ability to react and rescue people quickly, while simultaneously making life-and-death decisions. You have once again proven to the world your vast abilities and expertise. But you have also done so much more. You lifted the spirits of men and brought honor to the State of Israel and the IDF, especially at a time when there are so many who attack us and distort the truth. By the way, I didn't see too many of the armies of those who attempt to vilify us in Haiti. I am proud to say that you showed the world the IDF's true face.
For me, the IDF and its importance was again manifested in yesterday's experience. I returned yesterday from another place where there was a horrifying tragedy; not a natural disaster, but one caused by human nature- the most atrocious cruelty directed against our people and towards all people in history. In Auschwitz, no one came in the hour of need to rescue our people. But today, there exists a force, the Israel Defense Forces, which defends first and foremost our people, but as you demonstrated, not only our people. It mobilizes to help people in need all across the globe.
Yesterday, you were on the other side of the planet. Today, I salute you. Be sure that the entire world is appreciative. On behalf of the State of Israel and the entire fair, sincere and honest human race, it gives me great honor to say, thank you and well done, IDF."
* * *
Other Israeli relief operations in Haiti
- Update January 17
- Update January 18
- Update January 19
- Update January 22
- Update January 25
Israel 21c: Israel prepares for the long-haul in quake-stricken Haiti
Israel Ambassador to the UN Gabriela Shalev (21 Jan 2010):
I wish to express sincere and heartfelt condolences and feelings of solidarity on behalf of the people of Israel to the people of Haiti. We are deeply saddened over the deaths of the UN personnel in Haiti. Our greatest tribute to them would be to continue and further their efforts.
During times of such catastrophic destruction we must all offer assistance and support to the victims. From the moment the terrible news broke, Israel resolved to assist in whatever way we can. As such, by January 15th Israel had already deployed over 200 personnel and rapidly constructed and began to operate a field hospital in Port-Au-Prince, a hospital that has the capacity to treat over 500 patients a day. The personnel that have been dispatched include Israeli Defense Forces’ search and rescue teams, forensic teams, and medical teams.
Upon arrival, these teams started working around the clock assisting local authorities, UN agencies and other national teams with their search and rescue efforts. As of yesterday, the field hospital has performed 140 life-saving operations, and has delivered seven babies.
Additionally, in response to the UN’s emphasis on the urgency of ensuring security in Haiti, Israel has just announced that a delegation of Israeli police officers will join the UN peacekeeping force in Haiti.
The work before us is immense. Israel will continue its efforts to provide humanitarian aid to the people of Haiti. Our hearts and prayers are with them, we mourn their losses, and we hope for a better future for the people of Haiti.
The Israel aid mission
Two teams, comprised of search and rescue personnel and canine operators from the IDF canine unit, were sent out on rescue missions. The first team was sent to the Haiti UN headquarters in order to assist in rescuing survivors. The rescue teams are working in cooperation with local authorities in order to reach disaster-struck areas where survivors can be located and assisted.
- Israeli aid arrives in Haiti
- Israeli search and rescue team enters Port-au-Prince University which collapsed while classes were in session to assist in the evacuation of survivors and victims
- Canine operator and his dog search in the ruins of UN headquarters in Haiti
- Survivors treated by Israeli doctors
The Israeli field hospital was established in order to provide a first response to the citizens of Haiti until the arrival of additional medical forces capable of dealing with the magnitude of the situation. With the presence of American airplanes which brought with them equipment to build another hospital in Haiti, along with additional medical centers which have opened in the disaster zone, the activities of the Israeli field hospital will come to a close.
The delegation has begun, as part of a broad international effort, to bring hundreds of thousands of Port-au-Prince residents to tent cities outside of the capital. Three water towers with a capacity of up to 12,000 liters of water each, were built by the delegation's representatives in order to supply the residents with a water infrastructure. Shelters and tents have also been constructed in order to provide refuge for those who have lost their homes. Israeli civil engineers also opened central traffic routes that had been blocked in the aftermath of the earthquake.