Magen David Adom: Kathmandu 'In Chaos'

MDA paramedic reveals how the situation in Nepal has deteriorated since Sunday, adds that no Israelis are seriously injured.

Shimon Cohen and Tova Dvorin,

MDA rescue team heads to Nepal
MDA rescue team heads to Nepal
Magen David Adom

Asaf Chen, Magen David Adom (MDA) paramedic and a member of the organization's delegation to Kathmandu, spoke to Arutz Sheva on Monday about how the team is preparing to treat hundreds of wounded and regarding tens of Israelis stuck in Nepal. 

The team mostly prepared for the flight based on media reports, he noted. 

"We realized that it was chaos over there," he said. "We organized a delegation consisting of 11 paramedics. We took with us first-response equipment designed to treat typical earthquake injuries - fractures, wounds, cuts, and soft tissue injuries - and we organized to leave as soon as possible." He added that the team is the first to arrive in Kathmandu.

Chen explained that all of the preparations were made after the initial earthquake, but that the aftershocks - measuring some 6.7 on the Richter scale - exacerbated the situation. 

Due to the rise in injuries, he said, "there is now an exodus of Red Cross units from around the world who are heading to Kathmandu." The medical units are due to arrive Monday night, he added, and include delegations from Canada, Norway, and Germany. 

Israel's MDA team's first mission is to address Israeli casualties and interests, he noted, specifically the airlift operation for surrogate babies stranded in Nepal. The first rescue mission for those families began Sunday night. 

Insofar as Chen knows, he said, there are no Israelis in Nepal who have sustained serious injuries. As such, he noted, MDA is planning to rendezvous with other medical teams as soon as possible to help with the general casualty count. 

In the meantime, he said, contact with stranded Israelis is almost always "live."

"We meet them on the street, talk to them, get information and updates," he said, noting that telecommunication systems are too damaged to liaison by phone or internet. "In addition we are in contact with the embassy, the insurance companies and rescue organizations. Phones are very problematic."

And what about the dangers of actually being there? Chen does not deny the danger.

"The work is dangerous," he explained. "Remaining in a place where there was an earthquake is dangerous."

"We experienced some aftershocks," he continued. "We don't sleep in buildings, but on the ground, in tents we brought with us, so that we don't have the danger of walls collapsing in on us." 

"You need to have a head on your shoulders and know what you're dealing with, and that's what we're doing," he concluded. 




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