Two missing Israelis located in China

Both said to be lightly injured; Israeli search party locates the two in a nature reserve; 5 still missing.

china quake rescue 224.8 (photo credit: AP)
china quake rescue 224.8
(photo credit: AP)
Two out of seven Israelis who were listed as missing following the deadly 7.9-magnitude earthquake which rocked China on Monday have been located, the Foreign Ministry reported on Wednesday. The two were apparently lightly wounded in the disaster. An Israeli search party found the two in a nature reserve where they had been hiking when the earthquake struck. The Israeli consul in Beijing was also on his way to the area. News outlets had initially reported two Israeli students listed as missing in the aftermath of the quake, which has left at least 12,000 people dead. However, Foreign Ministry spokesman Aryeh Mekel said Tuesday that five additional Israelis were added to that list. Still, Mekel urged patience. "There are 100 million people in Sichuan," he said. "It's not Kfar Saba, it's going to take some time." Mekel told The Jerusalem Post that Chinese government officials had informed the Israeli embassy, as well as other embassies in China, that there were no foreigners among the dead so far. "Still, there are 12,000 dead, so it's very difficult at this point," Mekel said. "We're hoping the missing Israelis are simply experiencing communication difficulties. There was an Israeli in Myanmar last week who was living in a monastery with monks and didn't contact his family or the embassy because he didn't even know there had been a cyclone." Rabbi Avraham Greenberg from Chabad of Shanghai was also awaiting word on the missing Israelis. "We haven't heard anything about them," Greenberg told the Post by phone from Shanghai. "We're waiting to hear more news." Greenberg also said that his Chabad house was planning to put together a group to go to the epicenter, a two-hour ride from Shanghai, to help out any way they could, but was waiting for the situation to calm down first. "When the earthquake hit, we didn't feel very much," Greenberg said. "But the government evacuated the building, and it seemed like there were millions of Chinese people out in the street." One Israeli student, Ronen Medzini, was able to send a text message to The Associated Press, even though the quake knocked down more than 2,300 cellphone towers in and around Sichuan. "Traffic jams, no running water, power outs, everyone sitting in the streets, patients evacuated from hospitals sitting outside and waiting," he wrote. Minutes after the quake, a 3.9-magnitude earthquake struck in the Tongzhou district of eastern Beijing. Aftershocks from the major quake were felt as far away as Hanoi, Vietnam and Bangkok, Thailand. JTA contributed to this report