Israeli military sends top experts to assist the tiny African nation after a deadly blast overwhelms its medical facilities.
The small African country of Equatorial Guinea has only 1.5 million people, and when a series of huge explosions last week tore through Bata, its largest city, hospitals were overwhelmed and the nation called out for help.
With decades of experience helping other countries hit by disaster, Israel responded quickly. Within days, a plane carrying a large IDF medical team and emergency supplies touched down and the soldiers went to work helping the local health staff in the predominantly Christian nation.
The UN reported that at least 108 people were killed in the blasts, and at last count 615 people were injured.
The Israeli mission of almost 70 doctors, nurses, paramedics and experts in disaster management and recovery is led by members of the IDF Medical Corps, which is focusing on providing life-saving medical care in hospitals in the city. Many of the Israelis are active duty soldiers, but others were called up from their civilian jobs from various hospitals around Israel.
“The delegation consists of the best and most dedicated professionals – doctors, nurses, medical corps and various hospitals, combined with representatives of the Home Front Command, led by the rescue and rescue division that provides additional civilian assistance,” said Col. Dr. Noam Fink, deputy chief of staff and commander of the delegation.
Fink said the team all felt “a great sense of responsibility and dedication to our role and mission – saving lives.”
Although smaller geographically than Equatorial Guinea, Israel punches far above its weight when it comes to helping other countries in dire need of help from natural and other disasters.
Most recently, Israeli aid teams and field hospitals were sent to help in Albania following a disastrous earthquake there, to the Philipines after it was devastated by a severe tropical storm, and even to California, where the Israeli civilian aid organization IsraAID deployed an emergency response team following massive wildfires in 2018.