IDF delegation provides communications

Doctors, journalists and volunteers in Haiti granted access to critical internet, phone lines.

Haiti school collapse 248.88 (photo credit: AP)
Haiti school collapse 248.88
(photo credit: AP)

Wireless Internet, an Israeli phone line and unlimited satelliteaccess are just some of the technological wonders that the IDF hassucceeded in setting up in Haiti, where communication lines weredestroyed in last week's devastating earthquake.

While the world has already heard about the remarkable work atthe IDF field hospital in Port-au-Prince, not much has been writtenabout the communications room set up on the island by reservists fromthe military's C4I (command, control, communications, computers andintelligence) branch.

"This is an unprecedented operation in its scale and size,"explained Lt.-Col. (res.) Yaakov Magal. "We did not even have somethinglike this during Operation Cast Lead in the Gaza Strip last January."

According to Magal, before the rescue teams were sent to Haiti,the IDF ensured that the delegation would have around-the-clock accessto one of Israel's Amos communications satellites. It also sentmillions of dollars of equipment to Haiti.

"This operation is called 'End of the World,' but with ourcommunications systems we gave soldiers and delegation members theability to call home at the price of a domestic call in Israel," hesaid.

The wireless Internet has attracted, he said, journalists fromaround the world who come to send their materials back to theireditorial offices.

Magal and his team also set up video conference systems insurgery theaters to give field surgeons the ability to consult withexperts back in Israeli hospitals. "They can turn on the camera andeven watch the surgeries in Israel as they occur in Haiti," he said.