Beyond the Cusp

May 1, 2015

Israeli Nepal Efforts Amazing, as Usual

 

The extents to which the Israeli efforts in Nepal have risen to in this initial week where rescue is so vital as soon it becomes simply recording the fatalities, are their usual of accomplishing the improbable in responding to a natural disaster. The hopes for finding survivors were greatly enhanced by the assistance sent by the world with the Israeli assistance efforts being amongst the most extensive. Despite restrictions on numbers and types of flights permitted to land at the damaged Kathmandu airport, the Israelis still managed to erect a completely operative field hospital complete with fifty tons of medical equipment including X-ray imaging, complete operating rooms, a maternity ward, laboratory, and virtually everything one might expect to find at a regular hospital. The field hospital is expected to provide treatment, beyond simple first aid, to two hundred patients every day. Once again the Israeli efforts on the ground and in the air are equaled solely by the United States. Israel while providing aid and comfort to the Nepalese also managed to locate and rescue over two-hundred Israelis known to be vacationing or working in Nepal and is in the process of getting these survivors back to Israel. With one individual left to locate, these efforts are laudatory and so extensive that it is reasonable to expect this sole remaining Israeli to be located and provided transportation to Kathmandu and from there back home. The leads thus far on the location of Or Assaraf have all come from locals who had seen him before the massive earthquake struck Nepal leaving massive destructions of buildings and further problems caused by landslides and massive boulders careening down the steep slopes of the Himalayan Mountains.

 

The outpouring of thanks and appreciation pictured in reports are reminiscent of the reactions Israeli search and rescue, medical aid and other vital emergency relief efforts Israel has provided quietly around the world wherever they were needed. These Israeli units are very professional as they are ready response units which train and are always at the ready to fulfill all necessary functions to meet any emergency. These specialized units are in constant training mode up to the instance that their professional services are required, and then they are aboard aircraft with all their necessary gear and trained units ready to respond. This includes K-9 units with dogs specifically trained to locate survivors within the rubble as well as medical units which include doctors, surgeons, nurses and technicians to run the laboratories, X-ray equipment and other such services as in a fully staffed hospital which is as good a description as any to describe an Israeli field hospital. The main difference is the walls are all green and made from a softer and more forgiving material than brick and plaster, in simple terms, tents. With the death toll at this moment approaching 7500, the good news is that two survivors were pulled from the rubble and told of their harrowing experience and how they drank what water seeped down through the collapsed structures which had enveloped them. Both teens, a young boy and even younger girl, had survived for five days buried beneath buildings which their not being crushed was but the first of the miracles which saved their lives. The fact that they survived for five days with extreme limits to their intake of water and appeared none the worse for wear was the next miracle and their seeming perfect health with no ill effects was the final miracle. These youths were perhaps saved so that we could marvel at the miracle before our eyes.

 

For now we can only hope and pray for more such miracles to have saved additional people yet to be plucked from the rubble safe and sound. The efforts continue in Kathmandu to clear the wreckage and debris. One of the problems and something which must be accepted as necessitated by the lack of alternative methods has been the start of burning the bodily remains of the victims as there does not exist the means by which to otherwise dispose of them before they pose a threat to the living. The future holds little promise for locating additional survivors except in the remote areas where an injured individual would be more easily able to find water and even sustenance to hold out until rescuers arrive and can transport them to safety and medical help. The future holds the most harrowing of inevitabilities, the recording of the death toll which having already cleared many thousands threatens to climb even higher as the wreckage and remains of the earthquake are cleared and more bodies located. Additionally, the reports and loss of life in the remote parts of Nepal have yet to arrive. Some of these areas will never reveal their numbers as they do not recognize the central government and thus feel no compulsion to report to anyone. It had even been commented that the IDF search units seeking the hundreds of original missing Israelis were going into areas where the Nepalese military refuse to enter due to the animosities of some local tribes. As originally penned by Alexander Pope, it is appropriate to now state, “Fools rush in where angels fear to tread,” as this has often described the rescue forces of the IDF and they have universally been accepted by the locals who are suspect of anything bearing witness to a higher power than their tribal hierarchy. Perhaps the reason is that the IDF forces come solely to provide assistance, true assistance free from any strings or expectations of anything beyond acceptance to perform their mission, assisting survivors and finding those in need of rescue from the destructive forces of nature. This in many ways is the prefect description of Israel as a whole, the desire and intent to provide assistance, true assistance free from any strings or expectations of anything beyond acceptance, and to provide a meaningful template by which mankind can live through their examples and by such to be a light unto the nations.

 

Beyond the Cusp

 

April 27, 2015

Nepal Earthquake Response Teams and Quiet Heroes

 

In the end there will be nothing to add as the Israeli teams have already arrived amongst the first teams to arrive and after most have left there will be Israelis seeking and finding the places most remote to give aid and comfort. The initial IDF coordinating team which also doubles as a relief center and as the coordination of even the most remote assets making every team is given whatever assistance they may require. An IDF spokesperson was quoted telling an Arutz Sheva reporter of their mission, “The purpose of the delegation is to examine the level of assistance needed in the area, an analysis of the surface area and scale of the disaster, and adjusting the State of Israel’s response via the IDF as needed. The disaster is complex and difficult in the present case, where there is extensive damage to life and property, and sending a team of this type is in accordance to protocol. The IDF will help on behalf of the State of Israel in any disaster around the world where it’s needed.”

 

United Hatzalah and Magen David Adom (MDA) have sent their initial delegations to Nepal late in the day Sunday. Quoting the leader of United Hatzalah commenting on the initial scope of the relief initially being provided by them and MDA, Eli Beer stated that the organizations “will set up a field clinic to grant medical assistance” at the scene and that they are additionally “ready to treat many victims for fractures, dehydration, and infection.”

 

All teams from around the world will be arriving to see devastation beyond imagination as the initial earthquake measured 7.6 with a one massive aftershock amongst the several others measured as a 6.9 making it a secondary earthquake to strike the region. The death toll has tragically vaulted past thirty-two-hundred people with more than 4,500 injured. Officials have already stated that this was the worst earthquake Nepal has suffered in eighty-one years. The way Israel will play their role in the dispensing aid and comfort to the citizens and any travelers who may need assistance is indicative of the truth one would find in Israel and Israelis as a rule. Amongst those visiting there are two-hundred Israelis that remain to be located, let’s hope they are safe and not found trapped or worse. Let’s pray the toll which remains to be assessed is mostly structural and property and that the toll in lives will be minimal as there have been enough who have paid the ultimate price. There remain numerous remote locations which have not been assessed but that is an area at which the Israeli teams have proven their worth repeatedly. Just as in the Philippines where they found one village and gave assistance much of which had little to do with the disaster but were more along the lines of initial aid as this remote village had never received any outside help previously, not from any disaster or aid from the government in schools or medical facilities. This was rectified before the Israelis finished their time with these people. Finding more remote places which need general assistance and not so much from damage caused by the earthquake prove to be the case this time as there has been sufficient suffering from nature’s fury.

 

The people of Nepal are about to be given a view of Israel and most Israelis which is quite far removed from the one represented by the media across the globe and even often in Israeli media such as Haaretz. It is sad that it is only during such emergencies that people get to see Israel in action caring and giving comfort to those in need and meeting them with a hand outstretched in friendship and warmth. There will be no coverage granted Israel and nothing that Israel will gain on all the places where such goodwill returned is so badly needed. There have been a few exceptions, one was a short story about the level and speed with which the Israeli aid center and hospital was already treating patients in Haiti even before some nation’s initial search teams had arrived. Another was also from Haiti and referred to a more personal story where George Exantus, a dancer, was given a specially designed prosthetic leg which permitted his dancing career to continue. We recently referred to this story but it deserves another reference to our initial coverage in the article titled, Why Doesn’t Israel Refute the Propaganda Against Her? The final coverage Israel received was by a reporter who was seeking any remote location where aid had not been provided and she had been directed to a village which had never received any aid, be it from disaster relief or simple government aid and when she arrived at the village there were the Israelis busily providing aid. Her story remained about the village the world had forgotten except she had a new twist to end her article as aid had beaten her to the village and was being provided by an Israeli team. Needless to point out, the reporters who came across these stories were surprised to see the Israelis giving so much of themselves and making these sacrifices cheerfully and glad they could help wherever they went. The real shame is that it takes a disaster to allow the world an opportunity to see the generous and giving side to Israel.

 

There is another program run by the Israelis which treats a more personal and family tragedy just as serious and life-threatening as an earthquake, tsunami, or other crisis which was also covered in the article noted above. We stated in that article the following; “The program is called SACH which stands for “Save a Child’s Heart” and has two main visions for service. The first is to treat any child needful of heart surgery in Israel even arranging transport through a third country for the Arab children from nations who have such relations with Israel that the child and parents would be put to death should Israel be stamped as a destination on their Visa or Passport. The Israelis have treated numerous Palestinian children with this program as well and invest most of their efforts and charity in places where the children with heart defects or disease would have little if any possibility for survival. They bring the child, parents and even entire families in appropriate situation and provide free care and follow-up treatments giving the child a chance for a normal life. This program also assists in setting up children’s cardiac care centers in hospitals in countries where no such care exists and train physicians in the procedures used in treating cardiac problems and disease in children. All of this is done as charity under the Jewish concept of being a light unto the nations and setting an example of how man can act when doing his best free from hate or judgmentalism.” I guess it could be said that Israel has the daunting task of winning the hearts and minds of the world one individual in need at a time.

 

It remains a sad state of affairs that preconceived perceptions will even cloud some people’s minds that even when presented with such evidence their primary state of hate for Israel proves the stronger emotion as we have seen in too many instances. One that is etched into my memory was of an Arab woman from Gaza. Her husband had thrown acid on her face which caused acid burns. She was treated in an Israeli hospital and had been given a number of surgeries and was returning to the hospital for her supposed final visit. Her demeanor was well known to the crossing guards and something in her attitude this final visit sent alarms ringing in the guards’ minds, so they took her aside to check her for explosives. She was placed in a bombproof room and during the inspection she detonated the explosives which were estimated to have been a few pounds of explosives, sufficient to have destroyed the hospital clinic and killed every body inside. That was to be her repayment for the aid she had been provided and the sensitivity and what the clinic believed friendship they had forged over months of treatments. When the nurses and doctors were informed of what transpired at the crossing they were noticeably shaken and incredulous, some breaking into tears at the loss, the complete loss on so many levels. Lost friendship, lost trust, lost compassion, lost life of a person they had come to feel closeness with, but mostly lost innocence as this person they had let into their closest trust and had developed an emotional attachment and appeared to have had mutual exchanges of so much during the months of treatments and to find out she had intended to murder all of them just was too much shock and proved discomforting, but it is difficult to understand how such things can happen is beyond belief and incredulous, but also all too true and a portent of the danger faced in this often crazed world in which we all have to live and find our way through the emotional maze we often find ourselves lost within.

 

Beyond the Cusp

 

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