An Israeli search team located two missing Israeli women in western China following a serious earthquake. Ma’ayan Segev and Anat Bilu, both in their 20s, were found lightly hurt in the Longxi-Hongkou National Nature Reserve in Sichuan province. Both were studying Chinese medicine in Chengdu with an exchange program of Israel’s Reidman College of Complementary Medicine. A delegation of the Israeli consul in Beijing has already arrived in Sichuan province to confirm the identity of the two, and make contact with any other Israelis in the area affected by Monday’s 7.8 magnitude quake. “We are going to get them back. We already have solid information that they are safe and sound in the village of Hongkou,” Guy Kivetz, Press Officer for the Embassy of Israel in Beijing told JTA Wednesday afternoon local time. Kivetz said he was with the delegation in Sichuan and heading to the Hongkou village in the Dujiangyan area to meet the students. Three other Israelis traveling in China, whose whereabouts during the earthquake remain unknown, have not yet contacted their families or the Foreign Ministry. Xinhua News Agency’s death toll for the quake is approaching 15,000, with over 25,000 still buried underneath the rubble.
Israel has offered China humanitarian aid and the use of a military search-and-rescue team. But, according to Yediot Achronot, Beijing turned down the offer without giving explanations.