An explosion at a water treatment facility in the South’s Arava region killed
one man and injured nine others – five of them seriously – on Monday.
blast, which occurred 9 kilometers south of Ein Yahav, went off at a pipeline
carrying an acidic salty substance.
Its cause is under
Magen David Adom paramedics and police said that one
person is in critical condition, four are in serious condition and four are
lightly injured. All of the injured are employees working at the site, which is
owned by the Mekorot water company.
Ambulances and IDF helicopters
arrived at the site to evacuate the wounded to the Soroka University Medical
Center in Beersheba. The hospital said toxicologists were quickly brought to the
emergency room to treat people who inhaled substances that can cause internal
burns to lungs.
The Environmental Protection Ministry said there is no
danger to local residents as a result of the explosion. After exploring the
area, a team of ministry workers determined that the risk range is only 200
meters, and that the closest residential population is 5 kilometers away from
the site. The staff members provided instructions to police officers on site on
how to properly protect themselves when entering the facility, the ministry
MK Dov Henin (Hadash), chairman of the Knesset’s joint committee on environment and health, warned of the dangers that such
glitches in pipe systems can cause and called for firmer regulations in response
to Monday’s event.
“Time and time again, we see that the status quo in
the field of hazardous materials in Israel is forfeiting the lives and health of
citizens, workers and bystanders,” Henin said.
“Glitches in hazardous
materials are not predestined, and we can prevent them, but in order to do this,
a true revolution in regulations of this domain in Israel is
Such new regulations, Henin explained, should include high
standards for hazardous material facilities as well as for all the transmission
systems associated with the plants.
“I intend to convene the committee to
discuss the accident that occurred and the lessons that need to be learned from
it from a wide scope,” Henin said.