IDF emergency teams complete mission in Nepal, return home


The IDF emergency teams which were deployed to Nepal to assist the aid and relief efforts following the country’s devastating earthquake, yesterday officially closed its field hospital and returned home.

The earthquake is thought to have killed almost 8,000 people. Just days after the disaster, IDF rescue teams arrived in the country. They set up the largest ever field hospital constructed by the IDF, despite having established similar facilities in disaster zones in recent years including Haiti and the Philippines. A 260-strong team from IDF Home Front Command brought with it 95 tons of medical and humanitarian supplies. The field hospital was staffed by 122 doctors, nurses and paramedics, operating an emergency room, operating theatres, X-ray facilities and a room for expectant mothers.

During the 11 days that it was operational, the field hospital treated 1,600 patients suffering from severe internal injuries, fractures and hypothermia. The medical team conducted 85 life-saving surgeries and delivered eight babies; six Caesarean sections and two natural births. Meanwhile, a team of IDF engineers surveyed 332 public buildings, in order to survey and asses their structural stability. In addition, mental health officers led workshops for education staff and the general population.

At a brief ceremony marking the closure of the IDF facility, Nepal’s Urban Development Minister Narayan Khadka commented, “Let me express our sincere gratitude to the government of Israel and to the people of Israel for helping us in times of very critical hours for Nepal.”

On Thursday, Israel’s President Reuven Rivlin called the field hospital and told the delegation, “You are the pride of the country, all of you.” He added, “Your delegation embodies all the state’s universal values — giving, morality, loving every person for their sheer humanity.”

In addition to the IDF presence, two teams from Israeli-based humanitarian organisation IsraAID are in Nepal, coordinating efforts with the Nepalese authorities and the International Aid Agencies. Meanwhile, Israel’s ambulance service, Magen David Adom set up first aid stations in the capital Kathmandu.