(March 18, 2022 / JNS) The Magen David Adom (MDA) uses its mass casualty experience as Israel’s national paramedic organization and its position as a leading member of the International Committee of the Red Cross to help save lives in Ukraine, Poland, Moldova and Israel. Last week, American Friends of Magen David Adom (AFMDA) issued an emergency appeal for Ukraine to support these efforts.
“As a Red Cross affiliate, we are working to help refugees and injured people as much as possible, and that is how we will continue to do so,” said chief executive Eli Bin.
As the attacks intensified, MDA sent four armored ambulances to Poland, which will be taken to Ukraine to evacuate the wounded from the most volatile areas.
Russian-speaking and Ukrainian paramedics are sent to Moldova to staff a triage clinic, as well as to help injured and sick Ukrainians at the border. And following an assessment mission to Poland, MDA will establish a field clinic there, once approved by the Polish government.
Felix Lotan was one of the paramedics sent to assess the situation of refugees in Poland. “It’s heartbreaking,” he said. “Most of the refugees are women and children, and they have deep sadness and fear of being widowed.”
Director of MDA’s International Disaster Department, Lotan has witnessed several disasters, including earthquakes in Haiti and Nepal. “But nothing was like what I saw here.”
“The International Red Cross asked us to help the German Red Cross evacuate patients from Odessa to Moldova,” said Uri Shacham, deputy director general and chief of staff of the MDA, who is also its agent for liaison with the Red Cross movement. “Our paramedics are also part of the Israeli delegation to establish a field hospital in western Ukraine.”
In Israel, MDA is responding to the needs of the thousands of Ukrainian refugees who have arrived. A humanitarian hotline, staffed by Ukrainian and Russian speakers, has been set up to help them locate missing relatives, provide medical assistance and navigate social and government agencies for needed services.
“We are working vigorously to alleviate the trauma experienced by refugees who have been uprooted from their homes and families,” Bin said. “We hope to reunite them with their loved ones and bring them some comfort and closure.”
To that end, MDA loaned a mobile command and control center to Kfar Chabad in Israel to help coordinate evacuation plans and provide assistance to Jews in Ukraine.
“Whether innocent people are attacked in Israel or Ukraine, Magen David Adom is here to save lives,” said Catherine Reed, AFMDA’s CEO. “Our emergency appeal for Ukraine supports ambulance and paramedics working near the conflict and provides vital supplies, equipment, vehicles and services to Ukrainians seeking temporary or permanent refuge in Israel.
Donations can be made to: www.afmda.org/donate-ukraine.