KATHMANDU, Nepal — In a scene straight out of Good Morning, Vietnam! President Rivlin went live at the Israel Defense Forces Field Hospital in Kathmandu, Nepal, on Thursday afternoon to congratulate the medical staff on work well done.
The commander of the field hospital, Col. Tarif Bader, and Israeli delegation head Col. Yoram Laredo, received the call from the president and decided to broadcast it to the entire Israeli team using the field hospital’s PA system.
“Dear delegation, dear commanders, rescuers — you are the pride of the country, all of you,” Rivlin said. “I have been following your impressive work from the moment you landed on Nepal’s shaky ground and I have you in my thoughts with both concern and pride. Your delegation embodies all the state’s universal values — giving, morality, loving every person for their sheer humanity.
“I hope soon we will see you back home and we can hug each and every one of you warmly. Your work there is our pride as a nation and your actions with those who now need you so dearly is our face as a nation and a state. I salute you, my dear ones,” the president said.
Commander Bader thanked Rivlin for the call.
“Your honor, the President, your kind words and the support members of the delegation receive from the citizens of the state of Israel and the locals are wind in our sails to continue our important mission — saving human lives,” he said. “We promise we will continue to proudly represent the state of Israel.”
IDF spokeswoman Libby Weiss says that the field hospital has already treated more than 1,000 patients, almost two weeks after the devastating earthquake shattered the south Asian country.
“Yesterday we treated our 1,000th patient, which really made us feel like we are doing important things,” she told The Times of Israel, adding that the IDF hospital is now treating more chronic diseases rather than earthquake-related injuries.
The IDF has approximately 120 medical staff on the ground in Nepal. The field hospital opened on April 28. Weiss said the IDF does not have a final date for the end of their mission, though previous field hospitals to disaster areas have lasted between one to three weeks.