By Mua Patrick Mughe in Yaounde
Israel has offered health and other forms of assistance to victims of last March’s explosion at a military base in Bata in the Equatorial Guinea. The exercise was carried out by some 67 Israeli doctors, engineers and officers dispatched recently to the tiny Central African nation.
The mission was sent following a call for international support launched in March by Equato-Guinean President, Theodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo. “The State of Israel quickly reacted to this appeal, considering it as top priority. Accordingly, an immediate emergency delegation was designated to be sent to Bata” a statement sent to our newsroom said.
The Israeli delegation was made up of 67 doctors, engineers and officers. Upon arrival, the emissaries were received and welcomed by the Israeli ambassador in Equatorial Guinea with residence in Yaoundé, HE Isi Yanouka. The Israeli aid delegation was sent to Equatorial Guinea in the framework of ‘Operation Tiebreaker’.
“The Israeli embassy in Yaounde in collaboration with the Ministries of Foreign Affairs and Health, as well as the Israeli Defense Forces joined forces and gave the quickest and most significant response to the disaster that hit the city of Bata on March 7” said the statement. The delegation began with giving various treatment efforts over the weekend, it added.
About 60 medical corps soldiers, from a variety of areas of expertise, the statement said were divided up between dedicated medical care teams scattered among the three local hospitals of La Paz, General, Insesso; and community clinics scattered throughout the affected area, in order to provide assistance to those who could not make it on time to one of the hospitals. A large number of the affected population were not evacuated to hospitals, for lack of health insurance, said the Israeli embassy.
“Our team on the field, with the help of the local Deputy Minister of Health, issued a call for all the injured to arrive as soon as possible to one of the three hospitals to receive medical treatment” it also disclosed. They said the medical team expanded its treatment scoop “where they called on the general public to come to one of the clinics scattered around the city for treatment”.
“Furthermore particularly, residents of the affected area, who were injured by the explosion, were specifically called upon to reach the Israeli medical emergency rooms in the hospitals to receive free treatment. By the end of the aid mission, about 725 people were treated, 82 surgeries and 3 CPRs were performed successfully” detailed the statement.
It furthered that “At the same time, the Home Front Command and rescue team, together with local engineers, toured the blast areas, in order to assess the damage and locate buildings that need maintenance and repair before the tenants return back to their homes”.
“A combined team of the Medical Corps and the Home Front Command began work on a training system for the local hospitals, for the treatment and management of a multi-casualty event, as well as emergency population training” it said. The team is said to have met with other aid delegations that later on that week gave a helping hand and were coordinated with the World Health Organization.
The Home Front Command’s disaster management team has proposed a meticulous strategic plan. They formed a “combined resilience team” of medical, engineering, and population management force, said the communique. Representatives of the Israeli delegation of humanitarian assistance were received on March 15 by the Vice President of Equatorial Guinea; and the following day, March 16, the President of Equatorial Guinea, visited the hospital La Paz, where many victims were treated, escorted by the Ambassador of Israel in Equatorial Guinea, H.E Isi Yanouka.
The President of Equatorial Guinea used opportunity to honor the Israeli delegation through an official ceremony at the Presidential Palace of Bata, where all the members of the Israeli delegation were decorated by the Equatorial Guinean government. “Pursuing with dedication its mission of humanitarian assistance, the Israeli delegation handed over an important donation of medical equipment to the Equatorial Guinean government – equipment specific and adapted to the needs of the disaster victims. The Israeli delegation reiterated its commitment to do everything possible to help and support Equatorial Guinea to gradually recover from this disaster” said the statement.
“The State of Israel, with its passion for humanitarianism, has always responded positively to any request for assistance in case of disaster worldwide. This sacred mission in Equatorial Guinea, confirms once again, the long tradition of humanitarian aid that underlies our foreign policy, and our commitment to work tirelessly to strengthen bilateral relations with a friendly country like Equatorial Guinea” it concluded.