Israeli medics delivered a baby boy in the Philippines Friday, shortly after setting up a field hospital in the typhoon-ravaged country.
According to Israel Defense Forces spokesman Peter Lerner, the father was so grateful that he named his son Israel.
Lerner announced the birth of baby Israel on his Twitter account Friday morning, posting a photo with the caption, "Moments after the dramatic birth of baby #Israel. #IDFinIsrael".
The baby was born in the eighth month of his mother's pregnancy, weighing 2.150 kilograms. He was delivered by five Israeli medics - three gynecologists and two midwives - the IDF said in a press statement.
The Israeli medical mission to the Philippines set up a field hospital in the City of Bogo, at the northern end of Cebu Island, shortly after landing there Thursday morning.
The delegation had transported medical equipment to the north of the city at the request of Philippine authorities. While the island wasn’t as badly hit as other regions, it has suffered a complete power failure.
"Heartbreaking." That's how a senior Foreign Ministry official described the devastation on the streets of another ravaged Philippine city, Tacloban, upon his arrival earlier this week.
Chaim Choshen, the director of South Asia and South East Asia at the ministry, was one of the first Israelis to arrive in the island country following the mega-typhoon that killed thousands.
“The calamity is terrible,” Choshen told Haaretz in a telephone conversation, “All the streets were filled with destroyed vehicles. All the electricity was done, and there were lots and lots of people just walking about."
Choshen, who arrived in the Philippines late Sunday with a small Israeli rescue mission, made up primarily of members of the army’s Home Front Command, said that upon landing in Manila they were flown on a military aircraft to Tacloban, the main site of devastation.
“When we flew back to Manila, there were many refugees on the plane with us,” he recalled. “I struck up a conversation with a woman sitting next to me, whose home had been destroyed, and who was with her two children. They were going to Manila to stay with relatives, and they had no idea what they were going to do. They didn’t even have money to get to their relatives when the plane landed. So the military attaché, who was also sitting next to her, he was so heartbroken, he gave them money for a cab. And there are many many stories like this here. Many many people asking for help. It’s really a disaster.”
On Thursday morning, two Israeli planes landed in Manila, one carrying 140 medical and support staff to assist in international rescue activities, and the other carrying equipment to build a field hospital in the city of Bogo, at the northern end of Cebu Island.
Choshen estimated that the Israeli rescue team would spend the next two weeks in the Philippines. “It’s not definite yet,” he added. “We are here, we came to help, we came to assist and do our best, and time will tell how long it takes.”
Before taking over as director of the South Asia and Southeast Asia desk at the Foreign Ministry five years ago, Choshen served as deputy ambassador to Japan.
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