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United Hatzalah emergency response team departs for Turkey

The relief mission will assist in rescue operations and provide medical assistance following Monday's earthquakes.

An emergency response team prepares to depart Ben-Gurion Airport for Turkey with 25 medical and rescue personnel, Feb. 7, 2023. Credit: United Hatzalah of Israel.
An emergency response team prepares to depart Ben-Gurion Airport for Turkey with 25 medical and rescue personnel, Feb. 7, 2023. Credit: United Hatzalah of Israel.

United Hatzalah of Israel sent a delegation of 25 first responders and experts in search and rescue to Turkey on Tuesday.

The relief mission will assist in rescue operations and provide medical assistance following Monday’s earthquakes.

“As soon as we heard about the scale of the tragedy unfolding in Turkey, it was clear to us that we would send a team there in order to contribute to the relief effort,” said Vice President of Operations for United Hatzalah Dov Maisel.

“The amount of damage wrought by the earthquakes is enormous. We are bringing all of our knowledge and manpower from previous experiences responding to disasters to assist in the rescue efforts,” Maisel said, adding that the charter flight will also carry 10 tons of supplies.

The massive 7.8-magnitude earthquake on Monday and its aftershocks have killed more than 6,000 people combined in Turkey and Syria, according to the latest numbers.

Upon landing, the mission will make its way by the land to the epicenter of the destruction and set up a command center and field clinics and begin administering medical aid and rescuing those trapped under the rubble.

The chartered flight was arranged by United Hatzalah together with Sun D’Or, an El Al-owned subsidiary airline, in coordination with the Israeli Foreign Ministry and the Israeli embassy in Ankara.

Gal Gershon, CEO of Sun D’Or, said, “When United Hatzalah CEO Eli Pollack turned to us in order to arrange a relief mission to Turkey, Sun D’Or made immediate preparations to charter a flight, building on our previous cooperation in Ukraine and after the Surfside condominium collapse [in Florida].

“We feel a moral duty to extend our help to anyone who is in distress and we are proud of this mission and confident that it will make a significant contribution to saving lives and providing assistance in disaster-stricken areas.”

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