Israeli field hospital, up and running in Philippines, delivers 12 babies

JERUSALEM (JTA) — At least 12 babies, most premature, have been delivered in Israel’s field hospital in the Philippines, including one named “Israel” by his grateful parents.

The 147-member medical and humanitarian delegation of the Israel Defense Forces and 100 tons of humanitarian and medical supplies landed on Thursday evening in Bogo City on Cebu Island, one of the areas hardest hit by last week’s Typhoon Haiyan.

The field hospital, which is attached to the local hospital, was up and running by Friday morning, according to Lt.-Col. Dr. Ofer Merin, medical manager of the IDF’s field hospital in the Philippines. The IDF also brought everything that the team would use during their time in the Philippines, including food and water and housing.

The hospital is seeing about 300 patients a day, many injured in the typhoon, or unable to care for chronic conditions due to lack of running water or electricity.  The premature babies are being cared for in incubators brought by the IDF as part of the field hospital.

The team will likely stay for two weeks, though this will depend on what the needs of the local population, according to Merin.

Meanwhile, team of medical and trauma personnel from IsraAID has landed late last week in Tacloban, considered ground zero of the typhoon disaster.

IsraAID said in a statement that it is coordinating its efforts with the Philippine Army, U.S. Army and the IDF. A second IsraAID team left Israel for the Philippines on Friday.