Yesterday, Israeli doctors specializing in plastic surgery and burns flew to the Democratic Republic of Congo to treat burn victims hurt in the fuel tanker explosion in the city of Sange on July 2, during which more than 250 people were killed and almost 200 injured.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs is sending aid to the disaster area through Israel’s National Agency for International Cooperation (MASHAV). A delegation of six doctors from Sheba Medical Center flew to the Congo with medical equipment, to treat the seriously injured.

The doctors, all specialists in plastic surgery and burns, will be treating burn victims in the towns of Sange and Uvira, located in eastern Congo near the border with Burundi.

The team was sent in coordination with the Congolese authorities and with the blessing of President Joseph Kabila and the Congolese ministers of foreign affairs and health.

A UN task force in the field (MUNISCO) met the humanitarian mission and will ensure its security for the duration of its stay.

In the Congo, even moderate burns can mean death, and doctors and plastic surgeons with expertise in burn treatment are sorely lacking.

Earlier this year, a partnership between the volunteer-based NGO Moriah Africa and the Rambam Medical Center in Haifa brought Congolese general surgeon Dr. Leon Mubenga to Israel to learn the basics of burn wound treatment and thanks to a US-Israel initiative, the Congo is to have its first burn center.