Haifa hospital protests ministry halt on work
By MIRIAM BULWAR DAVID-HAY (TRANSLATED)
August 9, 2009 15:04
1 minute read.
Haifa's Rambam Hospital is protesting against an order by the Ministry for Environmental Protection to stop the current excavation work for the planned underground hospital, reports www.mynet.co.il. The ministry sent a letter to the hospital accusing it of breaching environmental laws and ordering it to stop work until experts could examine the issue, but the hospital said the work was being done legally and in accordance with ministry conditions, and that stopping it was putting the project behind schedule.
According to the report, the hospital recently began digging work on a 3,000-square-meter underground car park that will be able to be turned into an underground hospital within 24 hours in the event of another missile attack on Haifa, such as occurred during the 2006 Second Lebanon War. The NIS 200 million project, which is slated for completion in 2012, will create an underground area that will be protected against conventional and non-conventional missile attacks and that will be able to house up to 2,000 patients in an emergency. In peacetime, the area will solve the chronic parking problems at the hospital.
But the report said the Ministry for Environmental Protection was putting a stop to the excavations, apparently because "mei gir" (limestone water) was being allowed to flow into the sea. The report said the ministry would allow work to resume only after a hydraulic expert conducted tests and provided an opinion.
But hospital managers said the work was being done legally and in accordance with ministry conditions, and that stopping it was putting the project behind schedule. They said the idea for the underground hospital had come about because of the terror imposed on Haifa's residents in 2006, and if there was another attack on the city, the ministry's stop-work order would instantly be forgotten and everyone would "ask out loud" why the hospital was not ready and prepared for such attacks.