This article was first published by The Times of Israel and was re-posted with permission.
Israeli rescuers were taking part in the search for survivors in Mexico this weekend following a devastating earthquake Tuesday that has killed nearly 300 people and destroyed dozens of buildings.
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A 71-member Israeli delegation from the Home Front Command arrived in Mexico on Thursday, some 48 hours after the 7.1-magnitude quake hit. Two Israeli aid organizations — IsraAID and iAid — also said they were sending delegations to help with the search and rescue efforts.
Anxiety was mounting on Friday as Mexico approached the crucial 72-hour mark after the powerful tremor and exhausted rescuers raced to locate possible survivors trapped in the rubble.
Authorities put the death toll from Tuesday’s quake at 286 people, but it was expected to rise further with scores still missing in Mexico City.
The Israeli military said that the 71-member delegation was made up of a small search and rescue team, with a majority being engineers who would help assess the structural integrity of buildings in Mexico City and other affected areas.
Locals rescuers said the Israeli teams came with equipment enabling them to detect cell phone signals in the rubble.
Israel did not set up a field hospital yet, but the army has said this could be added in the future.
The IDF is often one of the first countries to send humanitarian delegations to countries hit by natural disasters.
Israeli disaster relief delegations provided rescue and medical services after an earthquake in Turkey in 1999, an earthquake in Haiti in 2010, a typhoon in the Philippines in 2013 and, most recently, an earthquake in Nepal in 2015.
— IDF (@IDFSpokesperson) September 23, 2017
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Photos and video: IDF