Sheba Humanitarian Assistance Team Rapidly Deploys To Assist Volcano Victims in Guatemala

The Center for Disaster Medicine and Humanitarian Response at the Sheba Medical Center made swift preparations to provide emergency assistance to survivors and victims of the eruptions of Fuego Volcano in Guatemala, where the number of victims has rapidly risen over 190.

The Sheba team included Prof. Elhanan Bar-On, Head of the Center for Disaster Medicine and Humanitarian Response, Prof. Josef Haik, Director of the National Burns Unit at Sheba, Dr. Gregory Trodler, Senior Physician in the Anesthesiology Department, Dr. Moti Harats, a specialist in plastic surgery and the nurse Aviva Yonah from the Burns Unit.

Settling in the capital, Guatemala City, the team had treated dozens of adults and children suffering from injuries of different stages, who were evacuated to receive intensive care, the majority of them suffering extensive burns from volcanic ash and pyroclastic materials. As part of the treatment, the Sheba delegation members made use of the most advanced technologies in the field of plastics and burns.

A great portion of the wounded were residents of the same villages; many were family members, who had lost their loved ones along with their homes. 

Prof. Elhanan Bar-On, “We specialize in extreme cases of this sort and we have the ability to recruit the best medical experts in a short period of time, in order to reach places that have suffered severe damage and provide the most advanced and professional medical assistance. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Health and Magen David Adom were our partners in this endeavor. And we of course thank the local Health Office for the warm welcome and the way they allowed us to use our knowledge and experience in order to help the local population”.

Prof. Josef Haik, “We arrived at a disaster-stricken region, the sights and stories were difficult. Entire families afflicted, many had lost everything. We had brought with us from Israel a variety of medical equipment and advanced technologies, that allowed us to treat dozens of casualties”.