TEL AVIV (Sep. 22)
Civil defense specialists and Israel Defense Force engineers are going to Mexico City to assist in ongoing rescue operations following the major earthquake last Thursday that devastated the heart of the Mexican capital with a death toll estimated between 3,000 and 5,000.
The first group of civil defense experts left last night. The IDF engineers departed today, taking with them not only sophisticated equipment but know-how gained in Lebanon, rescuing people buried in the rubble of buildings blasted by terrorist bombs.
Israel’s action is in response to a general appeal for help from the Mexican government. Israeli amateur radio operators (hams) have already established a communication network with Jewish radio hams in Mexico. They have volunteered to pass messages between Mexico and Israel, transmitting information and inquiries among concerned citizens of both countries.
The Israeli rescue teams are also carrying communications equipment by which they will keep in touch with Israel via the Israel embassies in Mexico City and the U.S. Their reports will determine whether more men and equipment is needed.
The equipment now on the way to Mexico with the Israeli specialists includes sensory devices which can pinpoint the faintest sounds coming from beneath rubble; specially designed inflatable airbags to be used as jacks to carefully lift fallen masonary or steel girders weighing as much as 54 tons.
This equipment will enable rescuers to crawl beneath rubble to extricate survivors or the bodies of victims. The Israelis are also bringing hydraulic cutting equipment to slice through steel and concrete.