By Joel Leyden
Israel News Agency
Jerusalem, Israel — August 26, 2016 … IsraAID has arrived at Italy’s earthquake epicenter with a 20 member team of Search and Rescue, Relief and Trauma Specialists. IsraAID is an Israeli-based humanitarian aid agency that responds to emergency crises and engages in international development around the world. The Israel search and rescue team wears blue and orange.
IsraAID was able to send the rescue team thanks to the support of The Ted Arison Family Foundation.
The death toll in earthquake ravaged Italy is climbing slowly, and it is unclear how many people remain trapped under the mounds of concrete, brick and stone. Rescue missions entered their third day Friday, still within the crucial 72-hour window in which the possibility of survival is highest.
Officials set up a red zone in Amatrice — the hardest-hit town with 207 dead — where buildings crumbled in the aftershocks, many of these weakened structures from the 14th century. At least 268 people are now known to have died and 400 were injured.
The 6.2-magnitude earthquake struck in the early hours of Wednesday, 100km (65 miles) north-east of Rome in mountainous central Italy.
The hardest hit towns – Amatrice, Arquata, Accumoli and Pescara del Tronto – are usually sparsely populated but have been filled by tourists visiting for summer, making estimates for the precise number missing difficult.
Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu sent condolences to the people of Italy regarding the victims of the earthquake and his wishes for a quick recovery to the injured. He has offered search and rescue assistance to Italian Prime Minister Mateo Renzi.
Israel President Reuven Rivlin today sent a letter of condolence to Italian President Sergio Mattarella following the devastating earthquake which occurred in the center of the country.
Rivlin wrote: “Our thoughts are with you and the people of Italy at this very difficult time as you seek to help the injured, give shelter to those made homeless, and plan the reconstruction.”
On behalf of the citizens of Israel he asked: “Please convey our sincere condolences to the families of the victims, our best wishes for a speedy recovery to the injured, and our hopes that the region will soon experience a happier future.”