New Delhi: Israel today lauded India's cooperation in evacuating its citizens from quake-ravaged Nepal and fast-tracking customs clearance of relief supplies. “We had about 700 known Israeli tourists, who were in Nepal at the time the quake struck. There were about 100 trekkers who were stranded and were later rescued.
Another 230 were rescued through Israeli airplanes and another batch of 260 of them were brought back in the plane that brought in the medical hospital team,” Israeli Ambassador to India Daniel Carmon told reporters here.
“And Indian government offered us all cooperation, in terms of its consular assistance in getting Israeli citizens visas for evacuating through New Delhi from Kathmandu. And, in terms of clearances to fly through Indian airspace,” he said.
The Ambassador also said that its Israeli Military Field Hospital in Kathmandu was “up and running in 96 hours from the tragedy” and that “eight babies have been born till date” at the makeshift facility there.
“We hope some of these new babies will bear names that will associate them with our country, Israel,” he said.
“We had 11 tonnes of relief material, like medical, food and water supplies and we all managed it from Delhi. But, it was in sending and timely delivering the supplies that the diplomatic channels helped and India's External Affairs Ministry played an important role in expediting it,” a senior official at the Israeli Embassy said.
The Ambassador reiterated Israel's commitment to fully rebuilding a village in Nepal, ravaged by the earthquake, its worst in over 80 years.
“Our Foreign Minister has already announced that Israel has pledged to reconstruct a village in Nepal. We are still working out the modalities, as to which village, and how much assistance we can offer. But, it will be something on the line of adopt, reconstruct and rehabilitate,” he added.
On reports of surrogate mothers of Israeli couples being left behind in Nepal, Carmon said, “Reports coming in describing situation in such blunt ways are not accurate.” “No surrogate mother has been left behind where the obligation has been left unfinished... The numbers are much smaller as described and the Israeli government is taking serious note of that,” he said.
Israeli Embassy spokesperson Ohad Horsandi said, “No surrogate mother has been left in a situation of danger.” The Ambassador said that, no known Israeli national is stranded as of now. “We only lost one Israeli youth who got buried in the debris. His body has already been flown back to Israel.”
Nearly 60 foreigners have been killed in the killer quake that ripped through the heart of Nepal on April 25.
The Israel government has also sent a team of medical clowns to its hospital in Kathmandu to help children and adult in easing the trauma of the shock.
“We have sent a team of clowns, because the damage is not just physical and biological but also psychological. And, these clowns would help in dealing with the immense tragedy, not just for children but also adults. Besides, we also have psychiatrists there,” Horsandi said.
The first baby born in a field hospital set up in Kathamandu by Pakistan Army in quake-hit Nepal has been named after the city of Lahore, Pakistani officials said.