Felix Lotan, a senior paramedic who oversees disaster response for Magen David Adom, is a member of Israel’s search and rescue team, which was dispatched to Turkey following that country’s earthquake Monday. Today, together with the IDF team, he rescued a 12-year-old boy and a 23-year-old woman who had been under the rubble for nearly 48 hours.
“We are working around the clock to save lives,” said Lotan. “The cold weather is very tough, so time is critical. We are doing everything we can to save as many lives as possible in the complex terrain conditions.”
Several other MDA paramedics will be heading to Turkey tonight as part of the international Red Cross response. MDA is also preparing for a long-term operation, providing medical and humanitarian needs to the displaced population.
In the coming hours, a joint Israeli delegation of Magen David Adom, the Ministry of Health, and the IDF is expected to take off, including highly trained MDA paramedics. The delegation will establish a field hospital to provide medical care to victims near the epicenters.
Magen David Adom is in constant contact with the Turkish Red Crescent who reports that apart from the 10 regions affected by the earthquake, there are apparently additional communities that were damaged, but the access roads to them are blocked. Depending on the situation assessment, additional international medical and rescue forces will be requested by Turkey.
Therefore, Magen David Adom, a member of the international Red Cross movement, is preparing alongside the German, Norwegian, and Canadian Red Cross Societies for an immediate establishment of a dedicated field hospital, where they will be able to provide medical and humanitarian aid.
“The need for medical and humanitarian aid is expected to last for many weeks,” said Chaim Rafalowski, director of disaster preparedness for MDA. “We are in continuous contact with the Turkish Red Crescent, as well as with some of the largest Red Cross societies in the world and are prepared to provide additional medical and humanitarian aid immediately.”
Magen David Adom is the only Israeli rescue and EMS organization that is affiliated with the Red Cross and can provide a coordinated response to maximize efforts in the region.