Forward Thinking

Israel Packs Up Typhoon Relief Effort

By Nathan Jeffay

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The Israeli military’s emergency mission to the Philippines packed up its field hospital today — but not before leaving giving a new x-ray machine, used only during this mission, to the local hospital.

A week-and-a-half ago the Israel Defense Forces set up the only medical aid facility in the island of Cebu. The 125 medics and technical staff who worked there are returning to Israel today, leaving rescue efforts on the island to a team that has arrived from Europe to relieve them.

Asked by the Forward this today for details on what the IDF was leaving behind, Hadar Marom, head of medical services in the military’s medical branch and part of the Philippines mission, said that in addition to the x-ray machine there is the basic equipment for a delivery room, as well as supplies needed to stock it. There are also various medicines for adults and children.

“It was only 10 days but we made a significant contribution,” she commented of the mission, saying that in total 2,686 patients were treated, including 835 children. Some 52 surgeries were performed.

Last week, a senior doctor spoke to the Forward about the 11 births that had taken place. Since then, there have been dozens more — some 69 babies were born on the island altogether, some 36 of them delivered by the Israeli team. The Israelis performed seven emergency caesarians sections, all of them successful.

The mission’s technical team rebuilt electricity infrastructure, roves and water supplies at four schools.

Marom admitted that there is more to be done, but said that as an immediate relief mission, the IDF team has met its aim. “We got to a point where they can continue this by themselves,” she said.


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