JERUSALEM (JTA) – Israel will evacuate four Israeli babies born to surrogate mothers in Nepal following the second major earthquake to hit the Asian nation in three weeks.
A Magen David Adom mission left for Nepal on Tuesday night, Ynet reported, after one of the fathers called for assistance from Israel earlier in the day following the 7.3 magnitude quake. The father’s twins were born Saturday.
The four babies, all born prematurely, were in neonatal intensive care units at the Grande International Hospital in Kathmandu at the time of the earthquake. One of the fathers, Yoav Elani, said that when the earthquake struck, all of the fathers grabbed their babies, disconnected them from tubes and machines, and ran outside.
The Israeli government is currently working with Nepalese officials on the approval needed to bring the babies to Israel.
The surrogate mothers and hospital staff also were safe, the Tammuz surrogacy agency, which facilitates the pregnancies, told the Hebrew language NRG news website. The babies and their parents will spend the night in a car in the parking lot of the hospital trying to keep the babies warm, according to NRG.
Following the 7.8 magnitude quake on April 25, Israel evacuated 25 Israeli babies born to surrogate mothers in Nepal, as well as some late-term surrogate mothers.
At least 42 people have been reported killed and several buildings destroyed in Tuesday’s earthquake in the hours after it struck. The earlier earthquake has killed more than 8,000 people and injured upwards of 16,000.
The area had faced numerous aftershocks and smaller earthquakes since the April 25 temblor centered near Kathmandu, the capital. Many families had moved back to their homes, however.
Rabbi Chezky Lifshitz, co-director of the Chabad of Nepal with his wife, Chani, said soon after Tuesday’s quake that 133 Israelis have again taken shelter at the Chabad center, according to the Chabad.org website.
“Although everyone we know appears to be safe, we are sad to report that there are many more casualties in Nepal again today,” Lifshitz said. “There is so much more work that now needs to be done.”
On Tuesday morning, the Israel Defense Forces delegation to Nepal returned home. In his welcome to the delegation at Ben-Gurion International Airport, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu indicated that Israel could send a second delegation in the wake of the new earthquake.