Israeli Doctors First on Scene after Congo Oil Blast

Published: July 13th 2010
in News » World

Part of the Sheba Medical Center in Israel

Two weeks after more than 200 died in an oil tanker explosion in the Congo, Israeli doctors will be the first of those sent to treat dozens of burn victims who survived the blast.


The Israeli delegation sent to the region, four doctors and one nurse, received a phone call from Congolese President Joseph Kabila on Monday night to thank them.


The Israeli contingency was sent from Sheba Medical Center via the Agency for International Development Cooperation of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MASHAV), to the area surrounding the village of Sange in eastern Congo.


A truck carrying hundreds of kilotons of petroleum caught fire there last Friday.


“We’re carrying half a ton of equipment to treat 30 injured in two locales,” said Dr. Eyal Winkler, deputy director of Sheba’s department of plastic and reconstructive Surgery. Drs. Shmuel Kalazkin, Ariel Tessone and Gil Gragov Nardini, and Nurse Noa Anastasia Ouchakova were sent to the scene together with Winkler.


The arrivals will be working with a U.S.-born Israeli, Gila Garaway, who currently resides in the Congo and works with the foreign ministry, Haaretz reported.


“When I came to visit them I could see their eyes light up with hope because they mistook me for the doctor from Israel they’d been expecting,” said Garaway, whose two sons live in Israel with her seven grandchildren. She mentioned that she had seen cases where burn victims became “psychotic from pain.”


Haim Divon, head of MASHAV, said that the government agency has been supporting Gila Garaway in her efforts during the past year to establish a burn-treatment centre in Bukavu, near the village of Sange.

Related articles: (Congo, oil blast, explosion, Sheba Medical Center)
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