Some of the IDF's medical and rescue delegation are returning to Israel on Sunday, the IDF Spokesperson's Office announced Saturday night, eight days after the devastating earthquake which shook Nepal.
Part of the delegation will remain in the Kathmandu area to continue the search for 22 year-old Or Assaraf, the only Israeli still unaccounted-for. A different team will continue running the field hospital established by the IDF and will remain as long as possible to continue saving lives.
So far, the delegation of IDF troops, medical teams from Magen David Adom and United Hatzalah, and Foreign Ministry personnel has been instrumental in locating over 200 people; the field hospital has cared for 438 people, conducted 33 surgeries, and delivered 5 babies – two normal births and three caesarean sections.
Meanwhile, days after expressing unparalleled optimism for their missing son, the Assaraf family stated to Channel 2 Sunday that they refuse to give up. The Assaraf family appealed to the public on Saturday for help in finding Or, although his sister stated that many anonymous tips have led to dead ends.
"We have received an update on a Dutch man named Fabian who was extracted from the area two days ago who thought he had seen Or," she said. "He survived there for several days, since the earthquake, and we want to use that to find additional information."
However, she noted, Fabian is in such shock that he is unable to help him much. Or's father Patrick has been busy on the ground looking for his son as they wait.
"My father is now in the war room and helps in everything he can," she said, remarking on Patrick's optimism – which is waning. "With each passing day it's more difficult to believe he's safe and sound. "
Assaraf was last seen in the Langtang area. A special team of rescue workers and ZAKA volunteers was sent on Saturday to find him; the team also included a geologist and a local guide, along with rescue equipment and special cameras to search the area.
Last Saturday's earthquake in Nepal measured 7.8 on the Richter scale – the country's worst in 81 years. As of Sunday morning, the death toll has exceeded 7,000 people. Some estimates have placed the injured count at 14,000-15,000.