Following the collapse of a dam near the Corrego de Feijao iron mine in the city of Brumadinho in Brazil, Israel has sent a team of search and rescue specialists from the IDF and Zaka to Brazil to assist in the search for survivors and locating the deceased.
So far, the fire department in Brazil has said that 37 people have been confirmed killed. According to estimates from local authorities, that number is expected to rise dramatically in the coming days. There are currently close to 300 people still missing.
The State Governor Romeu Zema declared three days of mourning on Saturday. He also thanked all agencies who have offered help. Romeu said on Sunday that the likelihood of finding survivors at this point is slim. He added that it is still unclear what caused the dam, that had not been in service for years, to suddenly break.
A second dam was reported to be under threat of collapse, and rescue work was called off for a time, but that threat passed and the work has begun once again.
The Israeli Search and Rescue team numbers some 130 people, most of whom are soldiers in active service or reserves from the Home Front Command’s Search and Rescue division. Also included in the team are structural engineers, doctors and medical personnel, members of the Lahava Unit of Israel’s Fire Department, underwater commandos from the Navy and members of the Foreign Ministry and the Israeli Ambassador to Brazil Mr. Yossi Sheli. Colonel Golan Vach who commands the Home Front Command Search and Rescue Unit is heading the mission.
Volunteers from Zaka’s International Unit have also joined the mission under the command of Mati Goldstein. Their job will be to help locate missing persons and provide aid to the injured. The mission has taken the latest sonar technology that was recently purchased by Israel that locates missing people or bodies underwater.