14 January 2010

Staff of the Israel Defense Force to help Haiti

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IDF medical teams are preparing to spend two weeks in Haiti and to see an average of 500 patients a day, Chief IDF Medical Corps Officer Brig. Gen. Nahman Ash said thursday.
Search and rescue efforts at the collapsed UN headquarters in Port-au-Prince, a day after a powerful earthquake struck the Haitian capital city.

The delegation will consist of 121 members, including 40 doctors and five search-and-rescue teams. The delegation will lift off on two planes at 8 p.m. from Ben-Gurion International Airport.
Ash said that the field hospital would likely be set up in an area in or around the Haitian capital of Port-au-Prince and would remain for at least two weeks.

"We assume that in the first stage we will deal with trauma patients and then the next round will be people suffering from infections and secondary illnesses", Ash said. The field hospital, he said, would have surgery rooms, and several beds in an Intensive Care Unit.

The planes will land on Friday and the field hospital will likely begin operations on Saturday. Soldiers from combat units are also being sent to provide security for the Israeli delegation.

Members of the delegation received vaccinations on Thursday to prepare them for the stay in Haiti which is known for its poor medical infrastructure, Ash said.

Home front Brig. Gen. Shalom Ben-Aryeh, commander of the delegation, said that there was hope that the search-and-rescue teams would still succeed in rescuing people trapped beneath the rubble. He said that the pictures from Haiti were reminiscent of the last rescue mission Israel launched to India in 2002.

"We have experience that after several days it is still possible to rescue people," he said, adding that one of the first missions once the teams arrived would be to search for an Israeli woman who is still missing

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