Operation Orange Wings
On February 24nd, 2022, Russia declared war on Ukraine. United Hatzalah operational managers knew we had to get into action to help 50 volunteers stationed in Kiev, Odessa and Uman as part of our Ukrainian branch.
Within 48 hours, we sent a group of 15 United Hatzalah volunteers who reached the Ukrainian-Moldavian border. When they got there, they were able to assess the real needs on the ground. They quickly got to work setting up triage medical centers and supply storage units to greet the thousands of women, children and elderly that were feeling to the border.
As of March 7th, more than 200,000 refugees have crossed the Moldovan border from Ukraine. They arrived hungry, traumatized, and exhausted. The need was overwhelming. United Hatzalah never imagined the next step we’d take as an organization — the launch of “Operation Orange Wings” to send charter flights with the help of El Al airlines.
The first flight was filled with humanitarian aid, medical equipment, and more volunteers. Once unloaded, 150 plus refugees were boarded to come to Israel.
The State of Israel has called for an urgent evacuation welcoming all Jews back home. And we are pioneering this effort. More flights are being sent as a result this week — help us soar!
Gorkha Earthquake in Nepal & Hurricane Matthew in Haiti
United Hatzalah was actively involved in providing rescue assistance when disaster hit in two different mass casualty incidents: the Gorkha earthquake in Nepal, which killed nearly 9,000 people and injured nearly 22,000 (April 2015), and Hurricane Matthew in Haiti, which was extremely destructive and resulted in an estimated 1,100 deaths (September 2016). In both incidents, the United Hatzalah delegation of volunteer emergency medical specialists departed from Israel for a deployment to the hardest hit villages and cities and operated on some of the roughest terrain under the most trying conditions. The United Hatzalah volunteers had the best medical equipment, protective gear, and communication equipment possible under the circumstances and gave their time, energy, and medical assistance to anyone in need. Their passion and professionalism helped save many lives and bring hope to the people of Nepal and Haiti.
Tree of Life Synagogue
On October 27, 2018, during Saturday praters, 11 people were murdered in cold blood in the Tree of Life Synagogue the Squirrel Hill neighborhood of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Our Psychotrauma Unit worked day and night with the congregants and the neighborhood at large trying to help with the severe trauma. Our volunteers talked in the schools and the JCC to work with the kids and helped anyone who needed support after their safety was deeply compromised and violated.
On Thursday, June 24, 2021, a building (the Champlain Towers), which was a 12-story beachfront condominium in the Miami suburb of Surfside, Florida, collapsed. Hundreds of people were trapped for days and ninety-eight people died. Our team brought emotional stabilization to the families, the community centers, and the first responders searching for survivors on the premises. Our professionally trained team helped the community and family members deal with the deep trauma and pain they were experiencing. On this delegation, the Psychotrauma Unit’s trauma-trained dog, Lucy, helped numerous people open up and break down with tears; the dog was a significant player in helping people heal.
(Mass Casualty Incident)
United Hatzalah has encountered many situations that were labeled “MCI” or Mass Casualty Incidents. This includes several dozen major terrorist attacks as well as national (tragedy in Meron in May 2021) and international rescue missions (see above). As a result of our extensive experience in training and dealing with MCI’s, United Hatzalah gives an enrichment course to cities that are interested in learning from our model and experience. To date, United Hatzalah has given this course, which is a ten-day, 9-5 intensive training, to cities in Mexico, Panama, and Australia (Sydney and Melbourne), 5 states in India and Sri Lanka.
The course can be taught abroad or on United Hatzalah’s own premises; it is up to the city to choose which location they prefer. The rigorous ten-day “boot camp” ends with a mock mass casualty drill, a test, and certification ceremony.
If you are interested in having a MCI training course for your city, please email Koby Grosbard at email@example.com.