Magen David Adom and the Jordan Red Crescent have a long tradition of cooperation; one of the highlight projects is the training of Jordan Students as Paramedics by the Ben-Gurion University and MDA. These 14 students were part of the participants in the first joint simulation of MDA and the JRC.
The scenario was of an earthquake that hit Aqaba (in Jordan) and Eilat (in Israel), leaving thousands of people homeless, and isolated due to the disruption of roads and damage to the airports. MDA was tasked (for the sake of the simulation) to set up a camp for 5000 tourists who are stranded in Eilat, until they are repatriated. MDA requested assistance from the Jordan Red Crescent, who immediately and willingly sent its Emergency Response Team to support the operation.The teams met in kibbutz Ketura for a short briefing and planning, and early next morning headed to Timna, a nature resort (the pillars of King Salomon) that was designated as the place to set up the simulated camp. In few hours a block of family tents was set up, along with a reception tent, medical tent, small warehouse with essential supplies for the beneficiaries (such as mattresses, blankets, hygiene parcels, kitchen sets), a tracing (restoring family links) and psychosocial support tent and satellite communications systems.
Teams from the different disaster response teams were present - assessment, camp management, logistics, medical, water and sanitation, tracing - all ready to support the beneficiaries.
And the beneficiaries arrived, requesting food and water, looking for their family members and medical care.
We were privileged to host in this simulation his Excellency Dr. Mohamed Al-Hadid, president of the Jordan Red Crescent, Mr. Eli Bin, Director General of Magen David Adom, Mr. Juan Pedro Schaerer, Head of ICRC delegation, with other ICRC and representative of the International Federation of the Red Cross and other authorities.
The team members demonstrated high professional level, along with commitment, that was important due to the difficult climate conditions.
The participants and spectators pointed out the seamless cooperation, in the words of one of them "if they didn't wear different uniforms we would have not noticed that these are 2 different teams, and would have thought that this is one team working together".
MDA's Director General and JRC's president, pointed out in their greeting to the participants, the importance of the international cooperation, as presented by the latest earthquakes. They also highlighted the fact that this cooperation is unique to sister national societies in the Red Cross movement, who share the same values, fundamental principles and mandate, cooperation that in the current political environment in the Middle East, seems to outsiders utopia, while to the JRC and MDA it seems trivial and needed.
MDA and JRC will keep on working on their contingency plans, response capacity and cooperation, at the community and branch level, as well as on the headquarters level, to be prepared for any eventuality that might occur in the future.