Shalom Life | September 04, 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.

Ben Gurion Airport Breaks All-Time Travel Records Ben Gurion Airport Breaks All-Time Travel Records TrendingMother Reunites with Daughter after Being Separated by the Nazis for 71 Years Mother Reunites with Daughter after Being Separated by the Nazis for 71 Years TrendingAnti-Semitic Graffiti Attacks Take Over Texas Anti-Semitic Graffiti Attacks Take Over Texas Trending
 

This Couple is Documenting their Conversion to Judaism on Instagram

August 27, 2015 | By Sy Berg
This Couple is Documenting their Conversion to Judaism on Instagram

2HipJews are putting the 'modern' back into modern Orthodox

Read More

Shalom Life is Saying Goodbye

August 27, 2015 | By Shalom Life Staff
Shalom Life is Saying Goodbye

After nearly 7 years, we are sadly ending Shalom Life's run.

Read More

Shaw Festival Review: The Intelligent Homosexual's Guide...

August 26, 2015 | By Hermine Steinberg
Shaw Festival Review: The Intelligent Homosexual's Guide...

Tony Kushner's family drama challenges it's audiences on so many levels, it leaves you breathless and beaten. It is awesome; astounding, humbling, overwhelming and remarkable.

Read More

Shaw Festival Review- The Divine: A Play for Sarah Berhnardt

August 23, 2015 | By Hermine Steinberg
Shaw Festival Review- The Divine: A Play for Sarah Berhnardt

This powerful play based on a true story is an absolute must-see this summer.

Read More

Top 10 Most Influential LGBT Jews

August 14, 2015 | By Ashley Baylen
Top 10 Most Influential LGBT Jews

These 10 LGBT celebrities are an inspiration to us all.

Read More

Crossfit “Guru” Does Handstand at Holocaust Memorial

August 14, 2015 | By Daina Goldfinger
Crossfit “Guru” Does Handstand at Holocaust Memorial

Dave Driskell apologized Monday evening for his actions

Read More

There’s a Jewish Rapper with a #1 Hit Record, and His Name’s Not Drake

August 14, 2015 | By B. Shane Morganstein
There’s a Jewish Rapper with a #1 Hit Record, and His Name’s Not Drake

Lil Dicky's 'Professional Rapper' sells 22,000 copies in its first week

Read More

Ben Gurion Airport Breaks All-Time Travel Records

August 14, 2015 | By B. Shane Morganstein
Ben Gurion Airport Breaks All-Time Travel Records

Reports indicate that some 78,000 travelers passed through the Israeli airport in a single day

Read More

More Headlines