Shalom Life | April 24, 2014

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 Looking Into Abducted Reporter in Ukraine Israel Looking Into Abducted Reporter in Ukraine TrendingChisel Used to Build Western Wall Discovered Chisel Used to Build Western Wall Discovered TrendingMissouri Mayor Resigns After Siding with Kansas Shooter Missouri Mayor Resigns After Siding with Kansas Shooter Trending
 

Jewish Hall of Fame: Émile Durkheim

April 23, 2014 | By Zak Edwards
Jewish Hall of Fame: Émile Durkheim

The French sociologist, social psychologist and philosopher is considered to be one of the founding fathers of social science

Read More

Anton Yelchin and Zooey Deschanel Slated for ‘The Driftless Area’

April 23, 2014 | By Sarah Bauder
Anton Yelchin and Zooey Deschanel Slated for ‘The Driftless Area’

The film will also star John Hawkes, Ciaran Hinds, and Alia Shawkat.

Read More

Sarah Silverman Apologizes in Advance For Swastika Doodle

April 23, 2014 | By Ashley Baylen
Sarah Silverman Apologizes in Advance For Swastika Doodle

The controversial comedian posted a doodle she drew of a swastika to her Twitter feed.

Read More

Andy Samberg to Return to ‘SNL’ as Host

April 23, 2014 | By Ashley Baylen
Andy Samberg to Return to ‘SNL’ as Host

The 'Saturday Night Live' alum will be hosting on May 17th.

Read More

Drake Lint Rolls His Pants During Raptors Playoff Game [VIDEO]

April 23, 2014 | By Ashley Baylen
Drake Lint Rolls His Pants During Raptors Playoff Game [VIDEO]

The Raptors global brand ambassador wanted to ensure he looked his best while his team beat the Brooklyn Nets

Read More

Drew Barrymore and Will Kopelman Welcome Baby Frankie

April 23, 2014 | By Ashley Baylen
Drew Barrymore and Will Kopelman Welcome Baby Frankie

The actress announced the birth of another happy baby girl on Tuesday.

Read More

Mel Brooks to Star in Autobiographical One-Man Show

April 23, 2014 | By Ashley Baylen
Mel Brooks to Star in Autobiographical One-Man Show

The 87-year old actor/director is planning a solo show in Los Angeles for one-night only.

Read More

Travel Back in Time with Google Street View

April 23, 2014 | By Daniel Koren
Travel Back in Time with Google Street View

Google's latest feature allows you to scroll through past Street view photos, whether in New York, Toronto, or Singapore

Read More

More Headlines