Sri Lankan emergency teams responding to a string of deadly bombings across the island nation were trained in part by Israel, in a special program to prepare first responders in the Sri Lankan capital to handle a variety of large-scale disasters – including multiple terror attacks.
Explosions were reported at eight separate locations across Sri Lanka on Sunday, most of them targeting churches or hotels during the Christian holiday of Easter.
At least 207 people were killed in the mass attacks, including some 30 foreign nationals.
Hardest hit was the Sri Lankan capital city of Colombo, with at least three hotels and a church bombed.
Local emergency teams called upon to conduct search and rescue missions and to treat the victims received special training from Israeli first responder teams, preparing them for a variety of scenarios – including large-scale terror attacks.
According to a spokesman for the United Hatzalah emergency responder organization, earlier this year, Israeli rescue teams from United Hatzalah traveled to the Sri Lankan capital city of Colombo to train local teams to prepare them for possible mass-casualty incidents, including mega-terror attacks.
The program, a joint effort of the American Jewish Committee and United Hatzalah, began in December 2018 and continued into January, with training programs in both India and Sri Lanka.
“This past January, the AJC and United Hatzalah teamed up to train first responders in Colombo, Sri Lanka in mass casualty incidents and disaster management,” United Hatzalah said in a statement Sunday. “The mission, which was funded by the AJC, brought experts from United Hatzalah of Israel to train members of local response organizations in how to provide quick and effective emergency response to large scale emergencies ranging from natural disasters to terror attacks.”
“The team from Israel provided training to members of the military, police force, search and rescue units and the fire department in Sri Lanka and provided them with tools and techniques developed in Israel in dealing with large-scale attacks such as the kind that occurred today.”
Below is video from the Indian portion of the AJC-United Hatzalah mission to India and Sri Lanka from December 2018 to January 2019: