TACLOBAN, Philippines (AP) — Israeli army medics have delivered a baby in the typhoon-hit central Philippines, and the grateful mother named him Israel.
About 150 members of the Israeli Defense Forces Home Front Command set up a field hospital in Bogo city on Cebu Island after Typhoon Haiyan killed thousands of people.
On Friday, Audrin Antigua was rushed in from among a long line of patients seeking treatment.
An Israeli Embassy statement on Saturday said the attending physician, Dr. Reuven Keidar, held Israel in his arms and offered the traditional Hebrew congratulations to the parents: “Mazel Tov. It’s a boy.”
It said Israeli doctors are now working on restoring a 70-year-old man’s eyesight after he was struck by a nail in the eye during the typhoon, the first ophthalmologic case for the Israeli team.
The man will be operated on by Israeli medical personnel and doctors of the Vicente Sotto Memorial Medical Hospital in Cebu.
The Israeli team is one of the 11 foreign medical groups that have set up operations in the typhoon-hit regions.
“The field hospital capacity that the Israelis can mobilize is top class, and we have seen it very, very effectively in many other crises as well,” John Ging, a top U.N. humanitarian official, in New York.
Israel’s response to the disaster in the Philippines follows similar relief operations the country mounted in Haiti in 2010 and Turkey in 2011.