Father of missing Israeli hiker joins search in Nepal


JERUSALEM (JTA) — The father of the only Israeli missing in the Nepal earthquake arrived on the scene to help in the search.

Members of Or Asraf’s Israel Defense Forces combat unit also touched down Wednesday afternoon in Nepal to help look for their comrade, the only Israeli who has not made contact since the devastating temblor hit on Saturday morning near Kathmandu.

A search-and-rescue team was already on the ground in the area of Bamboo, a village in the Langtang Valley where Asraf was believed to be hiking at the time of the earthquake and from where many Israeli hikers have been rescued, according to the Times of Israel. Numerous landslides have hit the area in the wake of the earthquake.

Asraf had an emergency satellite device that emits a signal to trace his whereabouts, but it has not been turned on. Several backpackers have told officials that they saw Asraf alive immediately after the earthquake.

The American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee announced on Wednesday that it would send an aid shipment of medial can humanitarian supplies from New York to a Kathmandu hospital in an effort coordinated with the Nepalese Consulate in New York. The shipment is being undertaken in conjunction with the Afya Foundation of Yonkers, New York.

“The damage is visible — to temples, to the tourist areas,” said Mike Attinson, JDC’s disaster response expert and emergency field medic, who is in Nepal. “The cultural heritage has been destroyed. People are still sleeping outside, still afraid to go into their homes. They’re still apprehensive. The poorer sections of the city were hit worse.”

The Israel Defense Forces field hospital that opened on Wednesday morning saw more than 100 patients on its first day of operation and delivered its first baby, a boy.

The death toll on Thursday morning climbed to more than 5,500. A 15-year-old boy was pulled alive from the rubble, where he had been trapped for five days.

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