JERUSALEM, Israel — A 260-member team from Israel arrived in Nepal Tuesday to aid in search and rescue operations and to set up a multi-facility field hospital that can treat at least 200 patients daily.
Over the weekend, the death toll following the 7.8 magnitude earthquake that struck Saturday rose past 2,500.
“An advanced multi-department medical facility, equipped with approximately 95 tons of humanitarian and medical supplies from Israel and a medical staff of 122 doctors, nurses and paramedics will be rapidly established in the city of Kathmandu to provide medical care for disaster casualties,” the IDF Spokesperson’s Unit said in a statement.
“The facility will include pediatric, surgical, internal medicine, neonatal and radiology departments, as well as a maternity ward and emergency and operating rooms.”
The IDF National Search and Rescue Unit dispatched a team of senior military physicians, engineers, mechanical engineering equipment operators and rescue dog handlers.
Head of the mission to Nepal Col. Yarom Laredo, commander of the Search and Rescue Corp, said the Israeli mission will be making two main efforts: conduct search and rescue operations to free anyone trapped under the rubble and set up a field hospital to be operational within 12 hours.
“You are being sent on an important mission,” Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told Col. Laredo. “This is the true face of Israel — a country that offers aid over any distance at such moments. Good luck. We are counting on you.”
On Saturday, the government dispatched a preliminary team to assess the situation. Based on their recommendations, IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Gadi Eisenkot ordered the deployment of a large-scale mission to the disaster zone on Sunday.
On Saturday evening, President Reuven Rivlin told senior Home Front Command officer Brig. Gen. Yoel Strick, “My blessings go to all the team undertaking this brave and humanitarian mission. I am proud of you and your staff for their speedy and impressive enlistment in such a time of need. This delegation of ‘messenger angels’ represents the universal values in the spirit of our people and our country and through you, I wish to thank each and every one of them.”
Gen. Strick said he’d received hundreds of applications from men and women of all professions and rescue groups who volunteered to be part of the rescue efforts in Nepal.
“We have set out on a mission that symbolizes all that the IDF stands for and we are greatly proud of this,” the general said.
The tiny Jewish state has one of the top disaster relief teams in the world. It’s usually among the first to offer substantial aid to countries in distress from natural and other disasters.