This morning (September 5), a building collapsed in Ramat Hahayal, Tel Aviv, Magen David Adom (MDA), Israel’s ambulance service declared a mass casualty event (MCI). Dozens of medics and paramedics as well as a fleet of ambulances responded to the scene. Reports from the scene were difficult, with dozens of casualties including some trapped and some killed. Because of the engineering complexity of the structure after the collapse, there was a risk to rescue personnel due to the fear of another collapse. Israel’s rescue service from the Home Front Command together with ZAKA’s specialist Search and Rescue volunteers were called to the scene. Rescuers working at the scene located and rescued two trapped people in serious condition, in addition to two bodies trapped under the rubble. The rescue forces continue to search for four others feared missing.

Haim Otmazgin, Commander of ZAKA’s specialist units said: “When I arrived at the scene, I realized that we are dealing with a major disaster. Medics from MDA and United Hatzalah treated and evacuated the injured to local hospitals. I went into the collapsed scene together with the Home Front Command and ZAKA Volunteers specially trained for Search and Rescue and firefighters. At first we rescued two people trapped in serious condition. After a few hours we reached 2 dead people trapped. Currently there are reports of numerous people still trapped. The IDF Home front Command unit and ZAKA Volunteers are searching the whole collapsed area to find other missing victims”.

Yehuda Meshi Zahav ZAKA Chairman, said: “The volunteers are working in this difficult scene professionally, we hope we can reach those who are missing alive.” He added: “We see the importance of integration between ZAKA’s rescue volunteers and the Home Front Command, after they recently finished another training  course with the Home Front Command.

Photos courtesy ZAKA

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