Tuesday, March 29, 2011 | Ryan Jones
The Israeli army on Tuesday officially opened the doors of its field hospital in the devastated northern regions of Japan.
The clinic is situated just outside Minamisanriku, a village that was all but destroyed by the tsunami that followed the massive March 11 earthquake off Japan’s northeastern coast.
The facility includes surgical, pediatrics and maternity wards, an intensive care unit, a pharmacy and a laboratory. The buildings for the clinic were built by the Japanese government, and the 58-man IDF Medical Corps and Home Front Command team is being housed at a nearby hotel.
The Israelis brought along their own medical equipment and supplies, as well as their own food and water so as to not further tax the already-limited local resources. Also on hand are several officials from Israel Atomic Energy Commission to make sure radiation levels in the area do not get too high.
On Monday, several of the Israeli officers spoke to Japanese reporters asking them to publicize the opening of the clinic so that victims in the area know where to find assistance and treatment.
Israeli Ambassador to Japan Nissim Ben Shitreet thanked the Japanese authorities and volunteerts on the ground for not only accepting Israel’s help, but assisting the set-up of the clinic.
“The Japanese people in the affected area went above and beyond to help us,” said Sheetrit. “The assistance of the Japenese from the moment the aid delegation landed in Japan has been exemplary.”
Japan’s Ambassador to Israel, Haruhisa Takeuchi, in turn delivered a heart-felt thank you to the medical delegation:
“I thank you, the crew of medical personnel, from the bottom of my heart, for volunteering to help in the aftermath of this tragedy and for carrying out this difficult mission.”
The ambassador also thanked the entire nation of Israel for standing so strongly by his nation:
“In this difficult hour, we will remember the warm and merciful embrace, the goodwill and the solidarity of the people of Israel. …Your support is a source of hope and encouragment.”
An Israeli officer speaks to a Japanese reporter
Officers prepare a ward in the new field hospital to receive patients
The Israeli flag is raised over the field hospital