The 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.
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.
The IDF Medical and Rescue Team set up a field hospital in Port-Au-Prince and is beginning to treat patients there. The field hospital is prepared to receive dozens of ambulances evacuating injured children from the different disaster struck areas. Between Friday night and Saturday, dozens of truckloads of medical and logistical equipment were unloaded and the field hospital set up.
On Saturday (16 Jan) the Israeli team rescued a top income tax official from the government office building which collapsed in the earthquake. The official, who had been trapped underneath the rubble for four days, is currently being treated at the Israeli field hospital.
The field hospital includes 40 doctors, 25 nurses, paramedics, a pharmacy, a children's ward, a radiology department, an intensive care unit, an emergency room, two operating rooms, a surgical department, an internal department and a maternity ward. The hospital can treat approximately 500 patients each day, and in addition will perform preliminary surgeries.
The delegation is scheduled to stay in Haiti for a minimum of two weeks. Further stay will be assessed at the end of this period.
- 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
Other Israeli relief operations in Haiti:
ZAKA rescue unit in Haiti pulls eight students alive from collapsed university building
The six man ZAKA delegation (four from Israel and two from Mexico) had arrived in Haiti aboard a Mexican air force Hercules, immediately after completing their work in recovery and identification in the Mexico City helicopter crash.
On arrival, the ZAKA delegation was dispatched to the collapsed 8-storey university building where cries could be heard from the trapped students. After 38 hours of work around the clock working with the Mexican military delegation and otehr Jewish volunteers from Mexico, the ZAKA volunteers succeeded Saturday in pulling eight students alive from the rubble.
Amid the stench and chaos, the ZAKA delegation took time out to recite Shabbat prayers - a surreal sight of ultra-orthodox men wrapped in prayer shawls standing on the collapsed buildings. Many locals sat quietly in the rubble, staring at the men as they prayed facing Jerusalem. At the end of the prayers, they crowded around the delegation and kissed the prayer shawls.
IsraAID medical team treats injured in Port-au-Prince Hospital
Just minutes after landing in the airport in Port-au-Prince the IsraAID team was met by David Darg, Operation Blessing Director in the field and his staff and joined with them to unload a planeload of food and medical equipment.
The Israeli medical professionals of IsraAID - F.I.R.S.T. traveled to the main Port-au-prince Hospital to start treating patients, joining local physicians at the site of the collapsed central hospital where thousands of wounded have gathered desperate for help.
"The scenes in the hospital were horrible we saw people everywhere on the floors in the building and outside, people with amputations and bone-deep wounds, hundreds of them, the size of the catastrophe is unbelievable. All of the injured were treated until we came by only one local doctor and we were the first foreign backup team to operate in the hospital." Said Nurse Sheva Cohen from Kibbutz Ein Yahav in the Negev.
When the team arrived at the hospital they found most of the injured outside the building laying in beds in the building's garden, probably out of fear of aftershocks and further collapse. The IsraAID team set up treatment rooms in four empty rooms, treating 60 patients with IV and administered medicine. While in the hospital, an infant with 60% burns died and bodies that had not yet been removed for burial were piled up in back.
In the meantime, the logistical personnel remain in the airport area to set up camp and assist local NGO partners with logistical support for relief items that were continuing to land.
Currently the teams are working around the clock to provide assistance to the injured. In light of the scale of the disaster, IsraAID is currently focused on expanding the scale of its operation, preparing an additional team that would be sent next week.
IsraAID's emergency response in Haiti is supported through the generous donations of UJA Federation of Greater Toronto, American Jewish Committee, Bna'i B'rith International, and The Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Chicago in addition to other Federations in the North America.