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Israel Humanitarian Operations:
Relief Efforts Around the World

(1985 - 1997)

Humanitarian Operations: Table of Contents | In the Philippines | In Japan

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From 1985 to 1997, Israel provided many countries with humanitarian aid and relief help.

Earthquake Relief in Mexico

On September 19th and 20th, 1985, two fierce earthquakes shook Mexico's capital, Mexico City. The earthquakes left in their wake thousands of homes demolished, in which thousands of people lay trapped. In the wake of this disaster, it was decided that an IDF relief mission would be sent to Mexico City, along with tons of humanitarian equipment — medicines and tents, rescue equipment, professional rescue teams from the IDF's Rescue Unit and medical teams.

Earthquake Relief in Armenia

On December 7, 1988, a powerful earthquake hit Armenia and destroyed many towns across the entire country, leaving tens of thousands dead and injured, and many homeless. Around the world humanitarian aid missions were assembled, and they assisted the government of the USSR not only in rescuing and evacuating the injured, but also in distributing basic supplies.

Israel too sent an aid mission, which included a rescue unit comprised of rescuers, doctors and much needed supplies for the refugees.

Terror Relief in Argentina

On March 17, 1992, a powerful bomb blast rocked the Israeli embassy building in Buenos Aires. The blast caused the collapse of the four-story building. Twenty-nine people were killed in the explosion and 250 were injured, many of them buried alive. Israel dispatched a Homefront Command rescue team and doctors, who were assisted by tracking dogs. The mission helped to extricate and thereby save the lives of many people buried under the collapsed building.

Civil War Relief in Rwanda

Bloody civil war broke out in Rwanda in 1994 between the Hutu and the Tutsi tribes. The fighting cost one million people their lives. As a result of the war, millions of refugees were concentrated in refugee camps in neighboring countries. On June 23 the IDF flew a medical team comprised of doctors, medical staff, medical supplies, food and clothing to assist the refugees concentrated in proximity to the city of Goma in Zaire. To ensure the security of the medical team, a unit of Givati Brigade soldiers was also sent. Some 270 IDF soldiers and officers spent 40 days in the field hospital at the refugee camp, and provided medical and humanitarian aid.

Fire Relief in Turkey

On July 4, 1997, a huge fire broke out in a number of Turkish arms factories. The Turkish government turned to the The Israeli Air Force and asked for assistance in putting it out. The IAF sent assistance in the form of fire-fighting helicopters and sophisticated equipment. With the Israeli aid, Turkish efforts to put out the fire, which was threatening to engulf the adjacent city, were successful. The IAF received much praise for the successful aid.

Eye From Zion

The Eye From Zion organization is a group of Israeli doctors who volunteer their time free of charge to provide emergency medical treatments to underpriveleged peoples around the globe. The doctors perform surgeries along with local medical teams, and provide hope for underserved and impoverished individuals. The Eye From Zion has run many relief missions to since 2007, and has served people from China, Vietnam, Myanmar, Micronesia, the Marshall Islands, and the Maldives.

In August 2015 the Eye From Zion organization travelled to Kyrgyzstan and performed restorative optical procedures on 90 individuals. The doctors performed cataract surgeries, tumor removals, cornea surgeries, and various plastic surgeries on the grateful patients.

Sources: Israeli Defense Forces
“Israeli Doctors Restore Sight to 90 Kyrgyzstanis in 'Eye From Zion' Initiative,” Algemeiner (August 26, 2015)

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