Tsunami Crisis Relief: Israeli relief team of 14 arrives in Sri Lanka

Tsunami Crisis Relief: Israeli relief team of 14 arrives in Sri Lanka


IsraAid equipment being delivered in Sri Lanka

(Communicated by IsraAID - The Israel Forum for International Humanitarian Aid)

Last night (January 9), the Israel Campaign For South East Asia Disaster Relief, spearheaded by IsraAID, sent a humanitarian team of 14 medical and logistical personnel to Sri Lanka to assist thousands of people affected by the tsunami.

Disaster area in Sri Lanka

IsraAID has put together and coordinated a team comprising medical personnel from Magen David Adom and logistical personnel from the Humanitarian Arm of the Kibbutz Movement. The group, headed by Ms. Gal Lusky and Dr. Zvi Beigenberg, will be working near the southernmost city of Matara and laying the groundwork for future Israeli-Jewish emergency medical and feeding projects in the field. The team will be bringing relief items including pharmaceuticals, kitchen supplies and tents to be used for the projects. 

IsraAid equipment being delivered in Sri Lanka

The team will establish a field clinic, which will offer locals medical assistance with an emphasis on pediatrics and infectious diseases. Along side the clinic, a Jewish Emergency Feeding Station will be erected with three large kitchens offering nutritious meals to thousands of people left homeless.

Among the groups and supporters taking part in the Israel Campaign For South East Asia Disaster Relief are: American Jewish Committee; B’nai B’rith International; Magen David Adom; Yad Sarah; Hadassah; Council for Israeli International Businesses; National Youth Movements; Naamat; Ve’ahavta; Meir Panim; The National Food Bank Organization; Lions Club and other non-governmental groups in Israel and around the world.

Supporting the national campaign are various government offices such as the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Education, Ministry of Welfare and Tel Aviv Municipality.

Report from the Field: January 13, 2005

A 14-member delegation of IsraAID members has begun to work on an Israeli-Jewish Emergency Medical, Feeding and Children’s Station in the southern city of Balapitiyia, three hours south of Colombo (pop. 20,000), Sri Lanka. In the city itself, the team is located on a main intersection between the camps and the seashore. Among the IsraAID delegation are representatives from the Humanitarian Arm of the Kibbutz Movement, Magen David Adom, as well as other Israeli aid organizations with specialties in logistics.

The team is currently operating a field clinic and is sending mobile medical units to assist people in several of the surrounding sites made up of between 100 to 1000 internally displaced people (IDP).  Most of the population of the IDP camps comes from coastal villages in that region that were wiped out by the tsunami. Our team was also asked to give guidance on sanitation in the schools, because of the concern of future outbreaks of epidemics.

Sri Lankan child receives medical treatment

The team has also set up an emergency feeding center and water distribution point to help serves thousands of vulnerable survivors on site and in the surrounding areas. People have already started coming in.

Food is distributed to children

As a result of the tsunami many women were traumatized and no longer able to properly breastfeed. The Israeli relief team is currently offering assistance to those mothers and children.

Gal Lusky, head of the IsraAID delegation, teaching mothers
how to prepare baby formula

The second stage of this project will address the needs of traumatized children and youth through our activity tent. There will be a need for experts in children and youth services in the children's activity area in the camps and in the schools. Our team is working with groups focusing on children to learn what the exact needs are.

Report from the Field: January 14, 2005

IsraAID’s relief team stationed in Balapitiyia, Sri Lanka has been working around the clock to address the immediate needs on the ground. 

Over the last 24 hours, The Israeli-Jewish Emergency Medical, Feeding and Children’s Station has served thousands of people left homeless from the tsunami.

Today alone, Israeli medical personnel, from Magen David Adom, treated over 350 patients, many of whom are women and children suffering from infecting wounds and injuries.   Two of the team’s doctors along with a paramedic, are also running an outreach program to the surrounding monasteries and schools that are currently sheltering thousands of people whose homes were destroyed. 

The emergency feeding station served meals to over 600 people with the participation of over dozens of local volunteers.  The station also provided infant formula to over 80 mothers, traumatized by the disaster and no longer able to properly breastfeed.   

Dozens of kids attended the newly established "children’s activity tent." Afternoon creative programs have been designed for children between the ages of 2-6 and 6-12 in order to begin to ease their level of stress.

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