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IDF Rescuers Leave for Philippines

A delegation of experts in the fields of search, rescue and medicine has left for the Philippines to assist in the wake of the typhoon.
By Elad Benari
First Publish: 11/11/2013, 4:43 AM

Aerial view of wreckage from Typhoon Haiyan
Aerial view of wreckage from Typhoon Haiyan
Reuters

A lead IDF delegation of experts in the fields of search, rescue and medicine on Sunday night left Israel for the Philippines, which was hit by a devastating typhoon over the weekend.

The rescuers are part of the IDF's Home Front Command, the IDF announced on its official blog.

According to the statement, the expert rescuers will perform a thorough situation assessment, including an infrastructure evaluation, that will determine the best rapid response the IDF can provide to the Government of the Philippines.

The mission is in accordance with a directive given earlier Sunday by the Chief of the General Staff, Lieutenant General Benny Gantz and the Government of Israel.

Israel has frequently offered aid in the wake of disasters overseas, including the earthquake in Haiti in January 2010 and an earthquake in Turkey in 2011.

The typhoon in the Philippines has left an estimated 10,000 people dead, a staggering 800,000 missing and whole neighborhoods flattened.

The American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC) and IsraAID have begun planning their responses to the ongoing crisis, which has also cut communications in the country, leaving hundreds of thousands isolated from any kind of help.

In a statement Sunday, the JDC’s CEO Alan Hill said, “Our heartfelt prayers go out to the Filipino people in the wake of yesterday’s deadly storm. We immediately activated our network of global partners and will leverage our previous experience in the region to provide immediate, strategic relief to survivors in their time of need.”

IsraAID reportedly plans to send a team of medical and trauma professionals to the region to assist local NGOs and UN agencies. The agency has responded to crises around the world in recent years, including in Haiti, Mumbai, and South Sudan.

Meanwhile on Sunday, it was reported that four Israeli tourists have been stranded on an island in the Philippines due to the typhoon and their families have been unable to get in touch with them.

The families of the four have turned to the Foreign Ministry and asked for help in locating their loved ones.