Four Israeli rescue delegations arrived to Turkey on Tuesday, with more assistance planned to be transferred to the earthquake’s areas in the coming days, with the goal of establishing a field hospital on Wednesday.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and opposition head Yair Lapid noted on Monday that Israel stands united in its desire to assist the Turkish people in anyway it can. On Monday night, Tel Aviv lit its city hall in the colors of the Turkish flag in sign of solidarity.
Tel Aviv Belediye Başkanı Ron Huldai'nin talimatıyla Tel Aviv Belediyesi binası Türk halkına destek için bu akşam Türk Bayrağı ile aydınlatıldı. pic.twitter.com/TAFvbBoL2f— İsrail Türkiye'de (@IsraelinTurkey) February 6, 2023
Defense Minister Yoav Gallant announced Monday night that Israel will set up a field hospital in one of the hardest-hit areas. Israel’s ambassador to Turkey, Irit Lillian, said in a radio interview that a supplies for a field hospital will arrive Wednesday morning and the facility become operational in a matter of days. Workers have already started loading equipment onto a plane at Ben-Gurion Airport, but because of stormy conditions the cargo might have to depart for Turkey from the IDF air force base Nevatim in the south of Israel.
The first Israeli rescue team arrived on Monday evening to assess the needs on the ground and prepare for the arrival of the second, larger delegation. The second delegation arrived early Tuesday morning, some 150 serving and reserve IDF officers specialized in rescue, firefighting, paramedical care and medical staff. The delegation brought hundreds of cold-weather sleeping bags and tents and some 1,500 food rations. More humanitarian equipment is expected on a separate flight. Landing in Adana, the delegation quickly separated into smaller teams and headed to different rescue sites.
Israel's Ichud Hatzalah volunteers land in Turkey, where they will assist in search & rescue and provide medical assistance.#Turkey #deprem pic.twitter.com/u7Fy34vc6z— Moshe Schwartz (@YWNReporter) February 7, 2023
A third delegation, organized by the Israeli United Hatsala first-aid volunteer organization, arrived to Gaziantep, another epicenter of the devastation, on Tuesday afternoon. The delegation of a few dozen Israeli doctors, paramedics, rescue operators and trauma specialists brought several more tons of humanitarian equipment.
A fourth delegation from the IsraAid NGO arrived to Gaziantep Tuesday evening. The delegation will assess the long-term assistance the region will require before sending in a larger team. The IsraAid team brought with it water, biofilters and other initial aid.
In 1999, Israel sent a rescue delegation of 250 rescue personnel and 100 doctors to assist the Turkish region of Izmit when it was struck by a severe earthquake.
Ambassador David Saranga, director of the Foreign Ministry's digital diplomacy bureau, accompanied the delegation in Adana.
Saranga told Al-Monitor, "The Israeli assistance is designed first and foremost to help the Turkish people in these very difficult times. During the last period, relations between Israel and Turkey have grown warmer, step by step. If the current assistance would also contribute to strengthening bilateral relations, then by all means."
Saranga noted that in the past few years, the Israeli Foreign Ministry and the Israel Defense forces have offered humanitarian assistance to several countries in distress, including Nepal, the Philippines, Haiti and others.