TEL AVIV (Dec. 13)
An Israeli relief team that flew to earthquake-ravaged Soviet Armenia Sunday has already rescued two women buried under rubble.
But a second Israeli aid group that was supposed to join them Monday remained grounded awaiting new instructions.
Two air force Hercules cargo planes carrying more than 40 Israel Defense Force and Magen David Adom doctors and paramedics, along with tons off equipment, took off Monday for Yerevan, the Armenian capital.
They were ordered home in mid-flight by Brig. Gen. Aharon Vardi, the Israeli civil defense chief, who heads the IDF rescue effort in the Leninakan region of Armenia.
He explained that the additional team was not needed in Leninakan. Extra supplies are more important than personnel, he said.
One of the two Hercules transports has loaded additional supplies but fewer doctors and rescue workers. It was standing by at an air force base Tuesday waiting to be told when and where to fly.
Israeli ham operators have been working round the clock at their receivers and transmitters, monitoring transmissions from radio hams in Armenia requesting aid and supplies, and retransmitting them to the rest of the world.
Hadassah, meanwhile, announced that five doctors from its medical centers in Jerusalem are part of the IDF relief unit that arrived in Armenia Sunday.
The volunteers brought emergency supplies from Hadassah Hospital on Mount Scopus and the Hadassah University Hospital in Ein Kerem.
The group is being led by Dr. Yoel Donchin, head of the newly-formed trauma team at the Medical Center, and includes Dr. Shmuel Hyman, head of the emergency department at Mount Scopus, and Dr. Alexander Lussus, a neurologist at the medical center.