The Israeli disaster team in Nepal expects to begin treating earthquake casualties Wednesday morning, after its equipment arrived at the designated site for the field hospital on Tuesday.
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Members of the team said they intended working throughout the night to set up the field hospital and the tents in which the will live on the hospital grounds, a large area close to a helipad beside Kathmandu’s military hospital.
The field hospital will include 60 beds for hospitalization and treatment of the casualties. Two operating theaters will operate simultaneously, in contrast to the previous occasion an Israeli team was there, when only one theater could function at any given time. The team will have X-ray and ultrasound machines, as well as a laboratory for testing blood.
One tent will contain incubators and will serve as a premature baby unit, dealing with the multiple premature births that are expected. It will also house the mothers of the babies.
Senior team members toured the Nepalese military hospital yesterday, in order to assess the capabilities of local doctors and the medications they use. They said that so far the local hospitals are holding up under the strain and people are being treated, even if not always optimally. Some team members said that in contrast to what they were told in Israel, Nepalese medical professionals had not lost control of the situation.
The prime concern of Israelis in Nepal at this stage is the fate of Israeli trekkers who have not yet estabished contact with the authorities.
There are conflicting reports regarding the number of missing persons – with the term “missing” creating the misleading perception that there are dozens of Israeli hikers stranded on distant trails, waiting to be evacuated.
Private operators, mainly insurance companies, have been attempting to locate those who are identified as missing. One rescuer said that most of the trekkers who have been reported rescued had simply sent regards and photos to their families before continuing with their hikes.
Rescuers are required to document their encounters with people whose names they had received from insurance companies on camera. They are also required to make sure the hikers are well and, in special cases, to bring them to locations from which they could continue their treks.
Only a few trekkers had apparently found themselves in life-threatening siuations during and following the earthquake. Most returned to guest houses in Kathmandu and in other towns, some even laughing off the whole situation. It seems that it was mainly the concern for those who were out of reach that created an appearance of danger, whereas in fact only a small number of trekkers were at risk — and most of them have been rescued.