Israeli aid delegation to Brazil locates and recovers bodies in the dam collapse disaster

January 30, 2019 by Lydia Weitzman
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Within hours of arriving at the site of the dam collapse disaster in Brazil, the Israeli aid delegation began to successfully locate and recover several bodies from the thick sludge.

Photo: ZAKA

Access to the area is only possible by helicopters that were made available to the Israeli delegation by the Brazilian army. First, contained areas were scanned by specially-trained search dogs in the IDF Oketz Canine Unit and, with those findings, the rescue and recovery delegations entered the area to retrieve the bodies entombed in the thick mud.

The Israeli delegation includes, among others, soldiers from the IDF Home Front Command, firefighters, Navy divers and volunteers from the ZAKA International Rescue Unit who are working together round the clock at the site of the disaster in their humanitarian rescue and recovery mission.

Volunteer and ZAKA Head of Special Operations Haim Weingarten said: “The scope of the disaster is huge.  The experience that we have accumulated in ZAKA over the years at many disasters around the world helps us greatly in the field. Already on the first day of operations, we were able to identify several areas with high potential for the remains of those who would not have survived the mudslide. There is much work for us to do here in the deep mud. The professional cooperation between all the different members of the Israeli delegation contributes significantly to the success of those working in the field.”

ZAKA Chairman Yehuda Meshi-Zahav added: “We are receiving excellent feedback from the emergency services in Brazil about the professionalism of the delegation at the disaster site. The rescuers are working in very difficult terrain. The Israeli delegation is well received in the local media and shows the beautiful face of Israel.”

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