Israel on the Ground in Christchurch

February 23, 2011 by Henry Benjamin
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The Israeli Embassy in Wellington has sent its Consul to Christchurch to establish an emergency centre on the ground.

Rabbi Mendel Goldstein and Ambassador Shemi Tzur

Shemi Tzur, the Israeli ambassador to New Zealand who has had forty minutes sleep since the devastating earthquake hit the South Island city told J-Wire: “The airport was closed so we flew him to Dunedin and he got to Christchurch by road. Our immediate responsibility is to check the Israelis reported to be in New Zealand at the moment one by one. Some of those reported missing have been located outside of Christchurch. The Mayor of Christchurch has reported that there are still many trapped in buildings and the work goes on to search  for and rescue them. In the meantime, we are now in a position to get word back to Israel about those who are safe and accounted for. There are understandably many anxious families waiting for news.”

In the meantime, Israel is still waiting to hear if their emergency teams are needed by New Zealand. Ambassador Tzur said: “Over forty countries have offered help and the area where most of the damage has been done is relatively small. So we are waiting for authorities to assess the situation. So far, Australia is the only country from which help has arrived in Christchurch.”

Rabbi Mendel Goldstein’s Chabad House is reported to have been flattened.

The name of the Israeli backpacker killed in yesterday’s earthquake has not yet been released.

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