Alongside many other nations, Israel is offering its aid to quake-stricken Haiti. A preliminary delegation has already departed and official sources say Wednesday that additional missions are preparing to set out to the Caribbean nation.
Thousands are said to be buried under the rubble, however communication problems have prevented the full scale of the disaster from being exposed.
The Foreign Ministry reported that contact was lost with four Israelis currently in the country: Sharona Elsaieh, daughter of late peace activist Abie Nathan, Bridget Pierre Omashi and her nine-year-old son, Segev David Omashi, and another woman.
"The families of the three are in contact with the Foreign Ministry and we are updating them on any information we have," the Foreign Ministry said in a statement.
The ministry together with the Home Front Command have sent out a delegation headed by Danny Saban, head of the Latin American Department in the ministry.
The group is meant to examine the local aid requirements and establish which elements from the police, Magen David Adom Emergency Services, as well as from the Home Front Command and the Foreign Ministry will venture out later on.
According to the current design, the Israeli delegation is set to operate in the capital's area by way of small mobile teams. The initial delegation will coordinate the reception of equipment from American representatives in addition to the dispatch of Israeli means.
IDF Chief of Staff Lieutenant General Gabi Ashkenazi has authorized the departure of a delegation led by commander of the National Rescue Unit Brigadier-General Shlaom Ben Aryeh, which will include rescue forces, doctors and representatives of the Operations Directorate.
"From past experience we know than in the first 24 to 36 hours survivors can be traced. We shall depart once we receive the permits," Ben Aryeh said.
Woman rescued from the rubble (Photo: AFP)
Chief Medical Officer Dr. Nachman Ash told Ynet that some 30-40 representatives of the Medical Corps will be traveling to Haiti "which is about the size of an upgraded intensive care unit. We shall recruit both reserve and regular servicemen."
He noted that at the first stage the forces will be treating trauma and rubble victims and later on they may be able to address other illnesses.
Dr. Ash noted that Israel is currently hosting a conference on emergency medicine which is attended by world experts, some of which were called to Haiti following the disaster.
Collapsing buildings (Photo: AFP)
The Foreign Ministry is currently awaiting reports from Amos Radian, the ambassador to the Dominican Republic who also represents Israel in neighboring Haiti.
The Prime Minister's Office has stated that Benjamin Netanyahu has instructed elements in the defense, foreign affairs and public security ministries to urgently prepare to offer humanitarian aid to Haiti.
The Israeli Embassy in Washington has also been instructed to maintain contact with US aid elements for coordination purposes.
Additionally, Internal Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovitch has instructed the police to set up a special forensics unit to be ready to depart for Haiti and offer its assistance there in body identification as well as forces to help maintain public order, should the Haitian authorities seek such services.
Meital Yasur-Beit Or, Roni Sofer and Hanan Greenberg have contributed to this report