Israel first to set up field hospital in Japan

Surgery established at Minamisanriko, fishing city devastated by quake; Israel also providing aid for the homeless.
The field hospital Israel is establishing in Japan is the first to be set up by any nation offering outside assistance, Israel’s Ambassador to Japan Nissim Ben Shitrit said Monday, and the Japanese are extremely appreciative.

Ben Shitrit said the hospital was being established at Minamisanriko, a fishing city 290 miles north of Tokyo, that was utterly overwhelmed by the quake and tsunami and where some 10,000 people are dead or missing. A five-strong Israeli team “is setting up the surgery right now,” the ambassador said. “They are evaluating the needs today, so that a larger team can be dispatched.”

He confirmed Israel was also providing tons of aid assistance – including mattresses, blankets, coats, gloves and chemical toilets — for some of the half-a-million people who are homeless, many of whom are now living in public facilities.

“I don’t know how or why it is that our field hospital is the first,” the ambassador said. “Maybe we moved faster. Maybe it’s because of our experience.”
He said the medical crisis would take a long time to resolve, but that he believed the Japanese government would bring the situation under control in the coming weeks. Appreciation for Israel’s help, he said, was clear in the reporting in the Japanese media and in the grateful response of people in the field.
300 Geiger counters have also been sent to Japan from Israel after Japanese officials extended an urgent request for the radiation-monitoring devices.
The request was issued by the Japan police and fire department, after authorities in Japan ran out of local Geiger counters. The devices were supplied by the technological arm of Israel’s nuclear reactor in Dimona, Rotem Industries.

Israel has sent 20 different types of devices that enable Japanese authorities to monitor radiation among civilians in contaminated areas. The counters have been handed over to forces operating in the area where nuclear plants are located.

The Geiger counters sent to Japan are produced by the radiation-monitoring unit at Rotem Industries. Its CEO, Dan Pe’er, said the unit is worked overtime in order to supply the required devices as soon as possible.

Rotem Industries has been producing the counters for some 25 years and its devices are in use in more than 85% of US reactors.

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  • Formed in June 2010, Group 18 is a new Israel advocacy organisation. 18 stands for the numerical value of “Chai” = LIFE. The impetus behind its inception was a feeling amongst concerned Jews that insufficient action was being taken in dealing with what we see as a broad and growing campaign to deligitimise the State of Israel and threaten it’s very right to exist. We, as Group 18, believe that instead of being reactive in dealing with these complex challenges, we must become pro-active through generating greater communal awareness of the issues.