Shalom Life | February 01, 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.

55,000-Year-Old Skull Discovered in Israel Sheds Light on First Humans in Europe 55,000-Year-Old Skull Discovered in Israel Sheds Light on First Humans in Europe Trending Getting anti-Semitism Wrong at the United Nations Getting anti-Semitism Wrong at the United Nations TrendingArtist Envisions The Simspons as Jews During the Holocaust Artist Envisions The Simspons as Jews During the Holocaust Trending
 

Israeli Startups Collectively Raised Over $900 Million Last Week

January 30, 2015 | By Viva Sarah Press
Israeli Startups Collectively Raised Over $900 Million Last Week

Various startups in Israel raised $910 million through acquisitions and funding rounds in a seven-day period

Read More

Woody Allen’s Joaquin Phoenix-Starrer is Called ‘Irrational Man’

January 30, 2015 | By Ashley Baylen
Woody Allen’s Joaquin Phoenix-Starrer is Called ‘Irrational Man’

Sony Pictures Classics have announced the name of Allen's upcoming film.

Read More

Steven Spielberg’s Daughter, Sasha, to Star in Snapchat Web Series

January 30, 2015 | By Ashley Baylen
Steven Spielberg’s Daughter, Sasha, to Star in Snapchat Web Series

Spielberg will co-star with John Goldwyn's daughter, Emily.

Read More

Roseanne Barr on Bill Cosby:” It Surprises Nobody”

January 30, 2015 | By Ashley Baylen
Roseanne Barr on Bill Cosby:” It Surprises Nobody”

The comedian believes Cosby should apologize.

Read More

Remembering Myra Kraft on Super Bowl Sunday

January 30, 2015 | By Jason Stverak, JNS.org
Remembering Myra Kraft on Super Bowl Sunday

What will be missing for the second time in recent New England Patriots' Super Bowl memory this Sunday is Myra Kraft sitting with her husband, owner Robert Kraft

Read More

Wounded Syrians Treated in Israel: Eliminate Hezbollah

January 30, 2015 | By Hassan Shaalan
Wounded Syrians Treated in Israel: Eliminate Hezbollah

"We were taught that Israel is the enemy of Syria and all Arab countries. Now that I stayed here, I believe the opposite is true; Israel is better than other Arab countries, which don't admit wounded people," says one injured Syrian

Read More

Jewish Hall Of Fame: Kenny Bernstein

January 30, 2015 | By Caitlin Marceau
Jewish Hall Of Fame: Kenny Bernstein

The famous "King of Speed" is known as one of the most important figures in NASCAR history

Read More

Postcard from Einstein's Sole Trip to Israel Sells At Auction

January 30, 2015 | By Daniel Koren
Postcard from Einstein's Sole Trip to Israel Sells At Auction

Almost a century after the physicist's trip to the Holy Land, postcard sells for $56,000

Read More

More Headlines