An advanced team from United Hatzalah has been active in Morocco since early Sunday morning. After the earthquake took place in the North African country, United Hatzalah, an international emergency medical and rescue NGO, received numerous requests for assistance from the local Jewish Community as well as from volunteers of the organization who were present in Morocco when the disaster struck. As a result, on Saturday night the organization sent a small delegation of responders from different countries to assist. This ‘go’ team was tasked with building an on-site situation assessment in preparation for a larger delegation that would be sent later.
“Our initial team on the ground aims to create a situation assessment, connect with local resources and government agencies, as well as meet with community leaders to gauge what assistance is needed,” said Dov Maisel, Vice President of Operations for United Hatzalah.
The team is currently conducting meetings with several high-ranking Moroccan officials to better understand the emergency medical needs and humanitarian needs on the ground in the disaster area. The team is working in complete cooperation with the local governments and community leaders.
Additionally, the team met up with and grouped together volunteers from the organization who were already in Morocco for vacation and for the Hillula of Rabbi Haim Pinto which is set to take place on the 26th of Elul (Tuesday).
“As with previous disasters around the globe, United Hatzalah is assisting as quickly as possible both with emergency response and humanitarian aid,” said President and Founder of United Hatzalah Eli Beer.
As an international NGO with chapters in numerous countries around the globe, United Hatzalah has responded to over a dozen international crises over the past eight years, including most recently the earthquake in Turkey which transpired in February 2023. During that rescue mission UH medical as well as search and rescue teams assisted the larger IDF team in rescuing 15 people, some several days after the earthquake occurred.
“One of the reasons why we are so effective is that we have a global network of volunteers and partner organizations and we are always working to increase that capacity to be able to provide disaster relief as soon as possible anywhere around the globe,” explained Vice President of Operations Dovie Maisel. “Utilizing the experience we have built up from previous missions, we can dispatch a team and respond within just a few hours, get boots on the ground, create a situational analysis, and then send additional rescue and aid teams as needed.”
“These missions are dynamic and each disaster response is different,” Maisel continued. “Our missions focus on providing as much assistance as we can as quickly as we can in order to save the lives of those affected by the crisis. We also work with local leadership and provide training wherever needed to create a level of sustainability and pass on our knowledge to local entities so that they can continue the mission when our teams depart. In Morocco specifically, as soon as our team landed they began working with local leadership in the various disaster areas to obtain a situational analysis. They will act as a force multiplier working together with local agencies and rescue efforts that are already ongoing. They are also making preparations for a larger team to arrive should that be deemed necessary. Our focus is on providing emergency medical care and assisting in rescue efforts wherever we are needed the most.”