Six Israeli medical personnel will take off for Pisco, Peru, Monday night, in order to help victims of the earthquake that shook the country last Thursday, leaving over 500 dead and thousands homeless.
"To go to another country, which has undergone a disaster, in order to help people is a special and challenging mission," said Dr. Iliya Geller, a member of delegation.
The mission was initiated by FIRST (Fast Israel Rescue and Search Team – an umbrella organization for Israeli emergency responder teams) and IsraAID (Israel Forum for International Humanitarian Aid). It was sponsored by Bnei Brith and the Israeli branch of the American Jewish Committee.
The delegation, comprised of three doctors and three nurses, will meet briefly with representatives of the Peruvian Jewish community in Lima, Peru's capital, before heading to Pisco, one of cities hardest hit by the earthquake.
For Dr. Geller, an orthopedic surgeon who volunteers with rescue units in the Galilee area, this is the first volunteer mission outside of Israel.
"Last weekend, after I finished helping in a rescue operation in northern Israel, I got a phone call asking if I'd like to join an aid mission to Peru. I thought it was a great and special challenge, since we need to help people as much as possible, anywhere in the world," he said.
"We'll get a vehicle that will serve as a supply base and will drive around help anyone who needs aid. In such natural disasters, most of the injuries are broken and crushed bones or limbs, but since many of the doctors in the area are not adequate, we will treat anyone who needs medical assistance," he said.
Delegation to Peru (Yoav Zimeran)
Eran Lerman, head of the AJC in Israel, stated that helping disaster-struck nations and people is a Jewish and Zionist duty. "It's one of the hallmarks of the Jewish people in the diaspora. We must help as much as we can those who need help, across the globe," he said.
Meanwhile, the Israeli embassy in Lima transferred to Peruvian authorities two tons of medical equipment - including antibiotics, painkillers, intravenous drugs and bandages – that were donated by the Foreign Ministry.
The supplies were flown in by military plane to the emergency logistics center in Pisco. Walid Manzur, the Israeli ambassador to Peru, arrived in the city in order to check on the progress of the rescue and aid efforts.