Wednesday, March 31, 2021

When Israel aided Japan after the tsunami disaster of 2011

Some important history of an Israeli medical delegation's aid to a Japanese fishing village, Minamisanriku, following a horrible tsunami that occurred on March 11 of 2011:
This was the worst calamity his town has ever been hit with. Things were on the verge of despair. Roads were either blocked or just destroyed; the power grid and cellular network were down, and the water supply was disrupted. Japan's armed forces brought as much help as they could but the terrified residents who had lost their homes faced a predicament of epic proportions.

Masafumi Nishizawa, a local physician, was the only medical doctor in the city's evacuation center in the immediate aftermath. "Only after a week did more medical teams arrive, totaling 20 specialists; the problem was that all the medical facilities had been decimated. We had no equipment to examine people or to operate." The local leaders were eager for help, and this came from the other end of the earth: Israel.

An Israel Defense Forces delegation in the area some two weeks after the waves hit. It was the first foreign relief delegation to arrive at the site. The government of Japan made any foreign assistance contingent on having the teams bring their own equipment, and Israel was the only country that could meet that requirement in such short notice. The Japanese parliament also held a special session to issue the Israeli delegation members with a special permit that would allow them to treat the locals. Eventually, after passing through many hoops and dealing with many concerns – including worries over being exposed to radiation from the reactor in Fukushima that had undergone a meltdown – the delegation landed. It comprised doctors, nurses, X-ray specialists, and all the necessary equipment. They immediately began setting up a field hospital.

"We required that they be able to conduct tests, but we could not imagine that they would have so much equipment and be so skilled at what they do," Nishizawa recalls in a conversation with Israel Hayom. "Their expertise was amazing and they had everything up and running at record speed." Among the first patients to be admitted to the hospital was Sato's own staff, and he got an X-ray. "They were courteous, they smiled and I was very grateful to get treatment," he recalled.
The Israeli medical team also aided a lot of pregnant women:
The Israelis won over the locals with various gestures that underscored just how dedicated they were to help them. "Pregnant women faced particular duress because they lacked proper equipment. They had to travel long distances just to get checkups or for giving birth," Nishizawa says. "But the Israeli delegation had a doctor trained in delivering babies, and after he had learned of the situation he began making house calls with patients, accompanied by a local female nurse. This level of dedication and their willingness to extend a helping hand to the community was really touching for me," Nishizawa says with admiration.
This is something you may not read about in US/European press sources, which is a terrible shame, because here, you have people who care about life, yet so many anti-Israelists would rather invalidate it for the sake of their prejudices. The Japanese will always remember this fine service, and those who recognize its importance should do what they can to let other countries know about it too.

No comments: