ZAKA delegation rescues 8 alive from the collapsed Port au Prince university building
Israeli volunteers in Haiti.
AFTER 38 HOURS, THE ZAKA INTERNATIONAL RESCUE UNIT DELEGATION IN HAITI PULLED EIGHT STUDENTS ALIVE FROM THE COLLAPSED UNIVERSITY BUILDING ON SATURDAY
ZAKA delegation head: "You have to understand that the situation is true madness, and the more time passes, there are more and more bodies, in numbers that cannot be grasped. It is beyond comprehension."
It was a "Shabbat from hell" for the ZAKA International Rescue Unit delegation in Haiti. The six man ZAKA delegation (four from Israel and two from Mexico) had arrived in Haiti aboard a Mexican air force Hercules, immediately after completing their work in recovery and identification in the Mexico City helicopter crash.
On arrival, the ZAKA delegation was dispatched to the collapsed 8-storey university building where cries could be heard from the trapped students. After 38 hou
rs of work around the clock working with the Mexican military delegation and otehr Jewish volunteers from Mexico, the ZAKA volunteers succeeded Saturday in pulling eight students alive from the rubble.
In a disturbing email that Mati Goldstein, head of the ZAKA International Rescue Unit delegation managed to send to the ZAKA headquarters in Jerusalem, he writes of the "Shabbat from hell. Everywhere, the acrid smell of bodies hangs in the air. It's just like the stories we are told of the Holocaust - thousands of bodies everywhere. You have to understand that the situation is true madness, and the more time passes, there are more and more bodies, in numbers that cannot be grasped. It is beyond comprehension."
Amid the stench and chaos, the ZAKA delegation took time out to recite Shabbat prayers - a surreal sight of ultra-orthodox men wrapped in prayer shawls standing on the collapsed buildings. Many locals sat quietly in the rubble, staring at the men as they prayed facing Jerusalem. At the end of the prayers, they crowded around the delegation and kissed the prayer shawls.
Due to the breakdown in communications in Haiti, the ZAKA delegation which arrived from Mexico was unable to make contact before Shabbat with the Israeli Home Front Command delegation that is now in Haiti.