Israeli aid teams set up camps in Sri Lanka

Israel set up two relief camps in Sri Lanka last week and dispatched numerous psychologists and trauma experts to help victims of the Dec. 26 tsunami.

One of the relief camps was established by IsraAID, and includes three main components: a kitchen run by local cooks, an infirmary and an area for orphaned and lost children to receive the care and attention they need.

Israel’s Health Minister dispatched the team of psychologists, after a plea from the Sri Lankan ambassador to Israel.

A five-member delegation headed by Dr. Yehuda Baruch, director-general of the Abarbanel Mental Health Center, was chosen to represent Israel and train local teams over the period of a week.

According to Gal Lousky, a field coordinator for IsraAID, the organization is collecting donations, sending people and cooking food. She said the organization will focus mainly on watching out for the children’s welfare and getting 5,000 people fed per day.

Israelis, and European and American Jewish communities are providing the funding for the campaign.

The Sri Lankan government is frantically trying to recover from losing more than 30,000 people to the tsunami. It is still searching for the more than 4,300 missing Sri Lankans, while trying to help the 15,000 injured and the newly homeless population of up to one million.

The IsraAID team plans to remain in Sri Lanka as long as possible, while finances and the government allow their presence.

In another development, a medications cargo was dispatched from Israel this week to the Magen David Adom Medical Aid Team based in a second camp in Sri Lanka. The team, which includes nine medical professionals, has been operating there since early last week and has attended to over 1,000 patients in the field clinic and temple grounds where many of the migrants have found refuge. Dogs roaming free have attacked the homeless children, and many have been bitten.

This medications cargo was dispatched urgently following a request made by the MDA Medical Team, which has been attending to 300 people a day in the clinic and in the environs, deploying the field unit. The team has been dealing with respiratory complications and infections.


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