Israel sends aid to Brazil after dam collapse disaster

January 28, 2019 by Aryeh Savir - TPS
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The IDF has dispatched an IDF humanitarian aid delegation to Brazil following the dam collapse at Brumadinho in Brazil, in which hundreds of people are reported missing.

Photo: ZAKA

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Saturday spoke with Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro following the dam collapse disaster.

Netanyahu offered that Israel’s immediate aid. Bolsonaro thanked Netanyahu and accepted his offer.

The two agreed that an Israeli mission with rescue equipment would leave within 24 hours.

The IDF delegation that took of Sunday morning includes 130 troops from the Home Front Command, among them engineering experts, doctors and rescue personnel, as well as the Israel Fire Department’s special rescue unit, Navy divers and representatives of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

After a situation assessment, the IDF defined its mission as finding and rescuing missing persons at the disaster scene in Brazil. The team is taking advanced detection acquirement, including drones and sonar.

The IDF stated that it will “continue to assist, on behalf of the State of Israel, in any disaster throughout the world at which it is required and will contribute its experience and capabilities.”

The IDF Search and Rescue unit has vast experience and has operated to save lives in disasters around the world.

Some 400 people are unaccounted for after a dam burst on Friday at an iron ore mine in southwestern Minas Gerais state. At least 50 people died in the disaster. Bolsonaro visited Minas Gerais and flew over the disaster area on Saturday.

Yuval Rotem, Director General of Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs stated that the Jewish State is “deeply saddened by the news of the Brazil dam collapse. Israel, as a true friend, is sending an urgent rescue mission. Our deepest condolences to the people and government of Brazil.”

Similarly, a delegation of Israeli ZAKA Search and Rescue volunteers is flying to Brazil with the IDF Home Front Command delegation.

The state of the art search equipment that ZAKA is bringing to the mission includes the sonar device which was recently purchased by the organization to assist in similar missions.

ZAKA International Rescue Unit commander Mati Goldstein stated that “ZAKA has accumulated vast experience in search, rescue and recovery at dozens of mass casualty incidents and terror attacks around the world. With this experience and expertise, we are able to save lives and significantly contribute to the local search and rescue efforts. Our mission will focus on rescuing survivors, and search and recovery of those killed in the disaster.”

ZAKA Chairman Yehuda Meshi-Zahav added that” ZAKA, as a UN-recognized international humanitarian volunteer organization, considers it a moral obligation to offer help and assistance to all those in need, regardless of religion, race or creed, when their country is overtaken by disaster. This is part of our mission to sanctify the divine name and Israel around the world. “

When Israel’s humanitarian aid delegation arrived in the city of Belo Horizonte, Brazil, to assist with the search and rescue operations underway following a dam collapse that left dozens dead and hundreds missing, it held first coordination meetings with local commanders.

Brazilian officials have announced they are suspending the rescue efforts for fear of another dam bursting in the vicinity of the first one. Several neighbourhoods in the nearby city of Brumadinho have been evacuated.

The Israeli delegation, which consists of 130 soldiers and officers, including engineering experts, doctors, search and rescue teams including ZAKA  and firefighters, as well as foreign ministry representatives, is currently and standby and does not know when it will be deployed.

The official death toll at the dam which burst on Friday at an iron ore mine in southwestern Minas Gerais state now stands at 58, but the final count is expected to rise exponentially, as over 300 people are still missing.

While some 190 people have been rescued alive, no one was rescued alive on Sunday.

The cause of the dam burst remains unclear.

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