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Israeli innovations save lives in Nepal

By Abigail Klein Leichman/ISRAEL21c

This report was filed on April 28.

Israeli innovations like the Emergency Bandage and the Pocket BVM, a manual ventilator to assist people who are not breathing, are just two of the technologies that are being put to use in saving lives in earthquake-stricken Nepal.

According to Israeli paramedic Dov Meisel, speaking to ISRAEL21c from Nepal’s badly-damaged capital, Kathmandu, a number of innovative Israeli technologies have been packed into 60 cases of medical and search-and-rescue equipment arriving at Kathmandu today for his 25-member Israeli disaster response team.

“A lot of our equipment is Israeli-made,” said Meisel, a volunteer with Israel’s United Hatzalah voluntary emergency response network and director of international operations for IsraeLife, an umbrella organization for which he is coordinating a joint disaster response team from United Hatzalah, ZAKA and FIRST rescue and recovery nonprofits.

The Emergency Bandage, by First Care Products, has a built-in pressure bar to stop bleeding and was invented by a former combat medic in the Israel Defense Forces. It’s been credited for saving lives of US servicemen in Iraq, as well as Arizona Congresswoman, Gabriel Giffords.

In addition to this, the Pocket BVM from MicroBVM, and other blue-and-white supplies, the crew is mapping its activities using a satellite-based smartphone technology created for United Hatzalah, called the NowForce Life Compass.

“It works most of the time here,” said Meisel, explaining that reception is spotty and there is no electricity outside Kathmandu to charge mobile devices.

The real humanitarian disaster is in Gorkha, a rural area three hours northwest of Kathmandu, he said. “We’ll get there early tomorrow morning,” said Meisel, who is waiting for the second half of his joint delegation to land in Nepal.

Meisel and his colleagues arrived in Nepal after a long flight that took them through Hong Kong and Bangladesh. The delegation has secured six jeeps, generators and water and intends to spend two or three weeks rescuing victims, retrieving corpses and treating the injured.

“After we set up camp in Gorkha and start building frontline clinics, we’ll provide community care, not just for those affected by the quake, but also vaccines, antibiotics and bandages. They have none of that at the moment,” Meisel said. “There are many rescue units here from different countries and there’s a lot to do everywhere.”

The crew brought much of its own food, including kosher energy and chocolate bars, but expects to eat sparingly while in Nepal. Meisel, a 40-year-old resident of Ramle, said that so far he has not seen actual food shortages, but acknowledged that many grocery stores are closed.

The earthquake and its aftershocks shook the entire Himalayan region, killing at least 4,300 people, a number that is still rising. According to recent reports, more than 5,000 people are injured.
 Most of the 600 Israelis in Nepal for backpack tourism or to pick up babies born to surrogate mothers have been located. This afternoon, Israel’s Foreign Ministry announced that the number of Israelis unaccounted for has gone down from 50 to 11.

As of today, more than 338 Israelis – including infants and parents, pregnant surrogate mothers and injured Israelis and tourists – have been airlifted home by the IDF and other organizations, including Magen David Adom. Israeli Ambassador to Nepal Yaron Meir told Israel Radio that two helicopters are attempting to rescue about 60 Israeli hikers in Langtang National Park. N

The Israeli delegation formed by IsraeLife, United Hatzalah, Zaka and F.I.R.S.T. at Ben Gurion Int’l Airport preparing for take-off to Nepal.

Representatives from IsraeLife, United Hatzalah, Zaka and F.I.R.S.T. strategize on how to provide the best relief in Nepal.

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