United Hatzalah of Israel sent a delegation of 25 first responders and experts in search and rescue operations to Turkey on a special flight Tuesday afternoon together with 10 tons of medical supplies and humanitarian aid.
The chartered flight was arranged by the emergency medical service (EMS) organization together with Sun D’or an El Al-owned subsidiary airline in coordination with the Israeli Foreign Ministry and the Israeli embassy in Turkey.
The team joins other rescue and response missions from Israel and elsewhere around the world in the increasingly urgent rescue operations taking place as the winter weather exacerbates the difficulty of extracting any survivors from the rubble that resulted from Monday’s series of massive earthquakes in the country. The team will also provide medical assistance to those in the affected area.
The delegation includes doctors, paramedics, EMTs, and members of United Hatzalah’s Psychotrauma and Crisis Response Unit, which specializes in stabilizing people suffering from psychological and emotional trauma, together with members of the Israeli Search and Rescue units. It will be led by United Hatzalah volunteer EMT Major (res.) Yossi Cohen, a reservist in the Home Front Command’s Liaison Unit.
“As soon as we heard about the scale of the tragedy unfolding in Turkey, it was clear to us that we would send a team there in order to contribute to the relief effort,” said UH Vice President of Operations Dov Maisel. “The amount of damage wrought by the earthquakes is enormous. We are bringing all of our knowledge and manpower from previous experiences responding to disasters to assist in the rescue efforts currently taking place in Turkey.”
The mission is expected to land at the Gaziantep International Airport and make its way to the epicenter of the destruction by land.
“Immediately after arriving in the region, the team will establish a special command center, and field clinics, and will begin providing medical assistance and rescuing those trapped under the rubble in coordination with local rescue services and Israel’s IDF Home Front Command operation that is already underway,” Maisel said.
“In addition to the personnel, we also sent ten tons of medical equipment and humanitarian aid equipment that will be delivered to the hardest-hit areas by a special logistics task force in order to assist other medical and rescue teams on the ground.”
“When United Hatzalah CEO Eli Pollak turned to us in order to arrange a relief mission to Turkey, Sun D’Or made immediate preparations to charter a flight, building on our previous cooperation in Ukraine and after the Surfside condominium Collapse,” said Gal Gershon, CEO of Sun D’Or.
“We feel a moral duty to extend our help to anyone who is in distress and we are proud of this mission and confident that it will make a significant contribution to saving lives and providing assistance in disaster-stricken areas. We will continue to stand and act together with United Hatzalah in full cooperation in order to save lives.”
“In Israel, our volunteers save lives every day when they respond to car accidents and heart attacks but also to terror attacks, mass casualty incidents, and even building collapses when they occur. However our lifesaving mission doesn’t end at Israel’s borders and we are proud to provide assistance when major tragedies strike around the world, such as is the case here,” added President and Founder of United Hatzalah Eli Beer.
“We are all part of the global family and it is our duty to assist when tragedy strikes.”