KATHMANDU:The Israel Forum for International Humanitarian Aid (Isra AID) is one of the social organization which has been supporting the earthquake victim from the very beginning. It has been involved in relief, rescue operation and currently engaging in reconstruction process too. They have been also involving to heal emotional scars of the victim psychologically organizing different street drama and programs at school. We would like to share a few conversations that we had with the Asian Regional Director of the IsraAID Mr. Yotam Polizer.
When did you know about the devastating earthquake in Nepal?
Yotam Polizer : I knew it within the first 10 Min of the occurrence, at that time I was in Japan. The earthquake alert apps of my smartphone notified me about the incident and later on I came to know more about it through television and internet news.
When have your team reached here and started rescuing and relief task?
Yotam Polizer: After 2 days of the incident, we came here. We have to face some difficulties at the airport as because of high air traffic and security process. As soon as we have reached here we gathered the information about severely damaged spots here in Kathmandu with the government agencies, civilian and with my Nepali friend. As per the information we moved towards the Gongabhu Area and started the rescue operation there. We choose the house from where we have removed 13 dead bodies from the rubbles and two alive people were also rescued. We have rescued the one alive body after the 6th day of the incident, which was the greatest miracle moment for me and my team and of course the biggest happiest moment too.
Is your team independently working on rescue operation? Have you got good support from the government of Nepal?
Yotam Polizer: Our team consists of Nepal Army, French and Norwegian rescue team members and we were leading the team. Actually, we didn’t have to deal with the security Channel as we haven’t armed force so we were unknown about the working environment under Defense and Home Ministry but we got good support from the ministry of Health. However the presence of the Government agents like Nepal Army cadres had assisted in our task greatly.
As your organization has been involved in the rescue operation in biggest disaster throughout the world, what is the difference you have experienced rescuing here and on other part of the world?
Yotam Polizer: When we were working in developed countries the resource material used to be sufficient and technologically rich one, we lack such tools here and we need to rely on the limited equipment we have carried with us. Basically, in the developed countries the government (mechanism or system) is strong and their activities were systematized. I don’t mean to say here it lacks but comparatively the community is strong and sounds more sensitive and lively one. For the active involvement that a civilian has shown I have to salute for their integrity and unity.
As the rescue and relief task has come to end, have you decided to move further into the reconstruction phase?
Yotam Polizer: Yes and we have already initiated the process of the reconstruction phase. Currently we are building shelters in two different villages of Sindhupalchock district( i.e at Sunkhani and Thangpaldhap).We are planning to make 300 Shelters for the victim whose house was completely damaged and who are currently living in the tent.
How you select the villages and what kind of mechanism you built in the selection area for processing your work?
Yotam Polizer : We selected the village following certain criteria, i.e. going through the news and information regarding the severely damaged area, verifying with the local people about the damaged and observing and collecting information either other similar team have already purposed or not. After confirmation in collaboration with a local community committee like ” Ama Samuha” and “Youth Club” we start our work.
Is the shelter your team currently building is of permanent type? Is it safe from other natural disaster like Landslides and heavy storm?
Yotam Polizer:The estimated life span of shelter which we are building goes for another 3 years . So far as safety is considered regarding other disaster I would like to assure you that it is safe as it has been designed by expert architectural and civil engineers. As the engineers will be involved in the selection of the land and is observed throughout the shelter building process, I can say there is no doubt regarding the safety .
Is there any more things you would like to say which we haven’t talked about?
Yotam Polizer :Thank you very much. I just want to thank all of my team members and local community volunteers who were assisting us during the relief and rescue phase. I expect similar spirits from them during the reconstruction phase too.
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