Kenya asks Israel to train rescue crews

Exclusive: Discussions under way between the sides to establish relief unit.

kenya rescue 298.88 (photo credit: )
kenya rescue 298.88
(photo credit: )
Kenya has requested Israel's assistance to train and set up a rescue-and-relief team similar to the IDF's Home Front Command, Lt.Col. Yishai Malka, head of the command's operation division said. Speaking from Nairobi on Wednesday night, Malka told The Jerusalem Post that discussions were already under way between the sides about the IDF's assistance in training personnel and establishing a local rescue and relief unit similar to Israel's. Malka said it was still unclear whether Home Front Command officials would travel to Kenya to train the locals or Kenyans would be trained in Israel. Since arriving in Nairobi on Tuesday morning to assist in the rescue of workers trapped beneath the rubble of a five storied building that collapsed on Monday, Home Front Command personnel have pulled out two survivors and seven bodies. Two British rescue units and another from the United States are also assisting in the rescue, said Malka. Over one hundred survivors have been pulled out of the ruins since the building collapsed. Malka said the Israeli team was preparing to leave the country later Thursday, but only after completing an orderly handover with the local authorities. "We came here to help save lives. We are in the advanced stages of removing the rubble and I hope by the morning that we will have completed the removal of all the debris and will be able to... leave it in the hands of the local authorities," he said. Malka said he doubted that anymore survivors remained buried under the debris. "At noon today the entire site was silenced. We deployed special electronic equipment and dispatched trained dogs to see if they could detect any signs of life." There has been no need to set up a field hospital, said Malka, as the number of wounded pulled out of the wreckage have been catered to by local hospitals. IDF doctors with the rescue teams have assisted the local medical staff in transferring the wounded, he said. The entire delegation has received a warm reception from the locals as well as the local Jewish community, Malka said. "Everyone has been extremely friendly and helpful, and we have enjoyed their full cooperation."