ANTALYA — Nineteen victims of Monday’s earthquakes in central Turkey were rescued from the rubble by the Israel Defense Forces since its operation “Olive Branches” began on Wednesday, and around 180 injured were treated by Israeli military medical personnel from Friday morning to Saturday night.
A ten and a nine-year-old were the victims most recently rescued by the IDF, pulled from collapsed buildings on Friday.
CADENA General Secretary Benjamin Laniado, who is operating with his medical and rescue teams in Kahramanmaraş alongside IDF teams, told The Jerusalem Post on Friday that after 72 hours the chances of survivors being found decreases dramatically. However, Israeli and other foreign teams continued to make odds-defying rescues into the weekend.
Of its almost 400-person delegation, the IDF has over 150 soldiers working on rescue operations in Turkey, and around 240 in its medical team. Around 17 tons of medical equipment and aid have been brought to Turkey.
Following setting up its field hospital in the staging grounds just outside of Kahramanmaraş on Thursday, the IDF said on Friday that it had restored a local hospital in the city at the epicenter of the quakes. IDF medical personnel are now manning the hospital, using equipment found at the site to complement the 7 tons of gear brought with the delegation.
The 180 victims treated since Friday included 10 Syrian citizens, said the IDF, including a four-year-old who had been with his family in Turkey during the deadly tremors. Northern Syria had also been heavily impacted by the earthquakes. 25,000 people have died in both countries, with many more thousands injured. The death toll is expected to climb.
Meeting with Netanyahu
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called IDF Search and Rescue commander Elad Adri on Thursday night to commend him on this unit’s operations.
“You represent humaneness, but you also represent the true face of the State of Israel,” said Netanyahu. “You bring a lot of respect to the country, and you are doing something worthy. Whoever saves one soul, as if he saved the whole world. You have already saved several worlds.”
Adri told Netanyahu that “There is no greater privilege for a commander in our army to lead such a delegation. I feel the whole country behind me. As if the country reached out as far as it could with all its strength, and put us here to save lives.”
“There is no greater privilege for a commander in our army to lead such a delegation. I feel the whole country behind me. As if the country reached out as far as it could with all its strength, and put us here to save lives.”Elad Adri