Philippine Ambassador to Israel Generoso D.G. Calonge said his nation is most grateful for the immediate and overwhelming support provided by the Jewish state in the wake of super-typhoon Haiyan, which killed an estimated 10,000 people and left another 800,000 without food, water and shelter.
"I can’t describe the feeling right now... that my host country cares about our stricken people," Calonge told The Jerusalem Post.
On Sunday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu sent a letter to his counterpart in the Philippines, guaranteeing determined Israeli assistance.
On Wednesday, an IDF Home Front Command jumbo jet took off for the Philippines with 148 Israeli doctors, nurses and medics aboard. In all, the Israeli army plans to send 234 medical personnel and enough supplies and equipment to establish a state-of-the-art field hospital.
Israeli provided similar assistance to both Haiti and Japan following earthquakes that devastated both of the island nations in 2010 and 2011, respectively.
"The Home Front Command has soldiers and officers who excel in the fields of search and rescue and highly professional medical doctors experienced in such complex missions," explained IDF Spokesperson Lt. Col. Peter Lerner. "Over the years they have been to Japan, Haiti, Ghana, Bulgaria, and Turkey, where they diligently donated from their resources and knowledge to those in need."
Israel's Ministry of Foreign Affairs has also dispatched a team of rescue and medical experts, as have private Israeli and Jewish humanitarian groups, such as IsraAid.
Israel is supporting the Philippines "not only in words but also in actions," Israeli Ambassador to the UN Ron Prosor stated on Tuesday.
Israeli Ambassador to the Philippines Menashe Bar-On added that "the Philippines and the Filipino People are close friends with Israel and the Jewish people. At this moment, our urgent task is to extend help to the Philippine government."
PHOTO: Members of the IDF Home Front Command Search and Rescue Unit depart for the Philippines.
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