Magen David Adom joins with Bulgarian Red Cross to bring home injured Israelis
The Bulgarian Red Cross and Magen David Adom (MDA) staff in Israel worked together to coordinate the transport and repatriation of the people wounded in the bus bombing attack in Bulgaria.
A few minutes before 6pm on Wednesday, the Disaster Management department of the Bulgarian Red Cross received an urgent call from the Red Cross branch director in Burgas, on the Bulgarian Black Sea Coast. A bus transporting Israeli citizens had been targeted in a bomb attack at the Burgas International Airport. Seven people were dead and 33 more wounded.
They took action immediately to confirm that it was a real emergency and 30 minutes later, a team of 16 from the Red Cross branch in Burgas was set up and deployed to the airport to join the four response teams mobilised by the local authorities. The Bulgarian Red Cross teams distributed drinks, snacks and provided psychosocial support to non-injured people.
Meanwhile, the Europe Zone office of the Red Cross facilitated communications with MDA in Israel. Jassen Slivensky, head of Disaster Management in the Bulgarian Red Cross, said “From the very first hours after the attack, the three of us were in contact on a regular basis, cross-checking the latest information and coordinating our joint action.”
At around 8pm, the Bulgarian Red Cross received a request from MDA in Israel to agree to the deployment of MDA teams to Burgas, to help coordinate the activities on the field, arrange transportation for the MDA staff and other technical support, including translation, deployment of special vehicles, and liaison services between the MDA delegation on its way to Bulgaria. Most of the victims were suffering from blast injuries, orthopaedic problems to their limbs and shrapnel wounds.
At 1.30am early on Thursday morning, planes bringing the MDA team – 25 people, including medical doctors and paramedics – landed at Burgas airport.
Immediately upon arrival, the medical team left the airport for the hospitals with the Bulgarian team and the Bulgarian Red Cross where the wounded received the necessary treatment to bring them to a stable condition.
MDA director general, Eli Bin, leader of the delegation, stayed at the airport to give support to the Israelis who were waiting there to return to Israel. Eli made contact with the Israeli Ambassador in Bulgaria in order to plan and coordinate any further action. Immediately afterwards, he headed to the hospitals to supervise the process of transporting the wounded back to Israel in coordination with the local health authorities and the Israeli government.
“The 33 people who were injured are now back in Israel, together with part of the MDA team,” said Itamar Abramovich, deputy director of the training department in the MDA. “Only three people, due to their serious health issues, had to be moved to Sofia hospital, and will be repatriated as soon as their health conditions improve.”
Jassen said that the teams from the Bulgarian Red Cross and MDA worked well together. “This event, though dramatic and shocking for both sides, shows a unique example of how two National Societies can work together with the support of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, in the pursuit of the spirit of togetherness, and most of all, of humanity,” he said.
To view the photo gallery from the rescue mission, click here.