Shalom Life | May 24, 2015

Israel Answers Japan's Call for Aid

Advanced medical personnel, as well as emergency supplies of gloves, blankets, coats and portable toilets, are quickly being sent to tsunami-hit areas.

By: Karin Kloosterman

Published: March 22nd, 2011 in News » World

Israel Answers Japan's Call for Aid

On March 20, Israel sent a medical team to earthquake-damaged Japan along with a shipment of crucial emergency items -- portable toilets, blankets, winter coats and gloves - bound for an area of devastation near the Fukushima nuclear reactor site.

Two medical doctors and a Homefront Command officer from the Israel Defense Forces were dispatched by Israel's Ministry of Foreign Affairs and seen off at Ben-Gurion International Airport by the Japanese ambassador to Israel, Haruhisa Takeuchi. It was a moving and emotional event, says Hagai Shagrir, director of the ministry's Northeast Asia Division, who coordinated the humanitarian relief.

Normally, Shagrir is focused on Israeli relations with China, but since the March 11 earthquake and tsunami that hit the northeastern coast of Japan and the ensuing humanitarian crisis, he's been spearheading Israel's efforts to help there. "Their ambassador asked us to emphasize that Israel was among, if not the first, country to send a medical team to Japan," Shagrir tells ISRAEL21c.

Several countries, mainly neighboring ones, sent help after the disaster, but none has sent medical experts, he explains.

Now on the ground in the Japanese city of Kurihara, the three-person team will assess exactly who and what is needed in the area. The moment this information is received, Israel is expected to send a larger medical team and logistics support to Kurihara - which is located on a mountain and therefore was spared when lower surrounding townships and cities were wiped out from the tsunami. Survivors from the nearby town of Sendai have been transferred there.

Setting up shop

"We will probability set up a clinic, depending on medical equipment needs and the lack of medicine," says Shagrir. "Many of the injured people are there in Kurihara, gathered in public halls, and the medial staff is, of course, not enough. It's hard for them to cope with the numbers that need medical treatment."

The people waiting there are "kind of refugees" notes Shagrir, who has been following the news intensively, hour by hour.

Also needed in the Sendai and Miyagi region are toilets, given the lack of infrastructure. "We worked on the list with the Japanese very carefully in the last two or three days - and produced this list according to their needs. There are some other countries that sent other provisions, but not with full coordination," Shagrir emphasizes.

"We wanted to send useful things that are really needed. And we were moved by the fact that Israel was among the first countries the Japanese approached to ask for stuff that is badly needed."

In total Israel, will send 10,000 coats, 6,000 blankets, and 6,000 pairs of gloves.

This article first appeared on Israel21c and is reprinted with permission. To read the rest of the article, click here.

Israel in Top 10 Countries for Gay Men Israel in Top 10 Countries for Gay Men TrendingCanadian Holocaust Survivor Recognizes Himself in Online Photo Canadian Holocaust Survivor Recognizes Himself in Online Photo TrendingSeven Ways to Celebrate a Meaningful Shavuot Seven Ways to Celebrate a Meaningful Shavuot Trending
 

Israeli Makes Eurovision Finals for First Time in 5 Years

May 22, 2015 | By Shaleni McBain
Israeli Makes Eurovision Finals for First Time in 5 Years

'Golden Boy' Nadav Guedj hopes to live up to his name

Read More

Israeli Companies Make Gartner's Innovative 'Cool Vendors' List

May 22, 2015 | By Einat Paz-Frankel, NoCamels
Israeli Companies Make Gartner's Innovative 'Cool Vendors' List

18 out of 350 companies selected by leading American IT research firm Gartner are from the Holy Land

Read More

Jewish Community Center Cancels Marijuana Art Classes

May 22, 2015 | By Shaleni McBain
Jewish Community Center Cancels Marijuana Art Classes

Class that welcomed cannabis usage at Aspen Community Center in Colorado quickly nixed

Read More

Israel in Top 10 Countries for Gay Men

May 22, 2015 | By Shaleni McBain
Israel in Top 10 Countries for Gay Men

Country ranks #7 on the happiness index

Read More

Canadian Holocaust Survivor Recognizes Himself in Online Photo

May 22, 2015 | By Daniel Koren
Canadian Holocaust Survivor Recognizes Himself in Online Photo

Yehuda Danzig of Toronto was stunned when he came across a pic of himself and his younger brother while reading The Times of Israel

Read More

Seven Ways to Celebrate a Meaningful Shavuot

May 22, 2015 | By Maayan Jaffe, JNS.org
Seven Ways to Celebrate a Meaningful Shavuot

Here are a few ways to infuse some meaning and minhag (tradition) into your Shavuot this year

Read More

WATCH: Israeli, Muslim Footballers Unite For "One World, One Ball"

May 22, 2015 | By Daniel Koren
WATCH: Israeli, Muslim Footballers Unite For "One World, One Ball"

"Play the ball, not the state," say soccer players of various ethnicities to FIFA in new video

Read More

Obama: Our Commitment to Israel is Unshakeable

May 22, 2015 | By Daniel Koren
Obama: Our Commitment to Israel is Unshakeable

The U.S. President also spoke of the need a two-state solution on the inaugural "Solidarity Sabbath" in D.C.

Read More

More Headlines