Tag Archive | Israel

Sandstorm Is Worst for Israel Since Independence

Israel’s ongoing sandstorm is the worst since before the founding of the state in 1948, according to the Israeli Environmental Protection Ministry.
The sandstorm blanketing the region, which began Tuesday and is expected to continue through the weekend, has released the highest concentration of dust particles in more than 65 years, the Times of Israel reported Friday.
The sandstorm has affected large swaths of Lebanon, Syria, Egypt and Cyprus, and in Israel has led to record electricity consumption and air pollution highs. The previous electricity consumption record was set in August during a heatwave.
Scientists are uncertain what caused the storm, with some saying it is related to agricultural disruptions caused by the Syrian civil war and others suggesting it stems from global warming, i24news reported.
On Tuesday, air pollution in Jerusalem was 173 times higher than average; in the Negev, 51 times higher than average; and in the Galilee, 32 times higher than average, according to the Times of Israel.
The Environmental Ministry has warned Israelis not to stay outside for extended periods. The storm has caused several respiratory-related deaths and hospitalized more than 2,500 in Lebanon, according to the Washington Post.
Courtesy of forward.com

1,000 birds dead, 12,000 killed due to avian flu in Betzet, Israel

Bird Flu

Israel has reported an outbreak of H5N1 bird flu virus in the north of the country, two months after declaring a series of similar outbreaks earlier this year had been resolved, the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) said on Tuesday.
The highly pathogenic H5N1 virus caused the death of 1,000 10-week-old turkeys on a farm in Bezet near the border with Lebanon, the OIE reported on its website, citing data submitted by Israel’s ministry of agriculture.
The outbreak follows similar ones in January and February, the first in nearly three years, which prompted the death or culling of over 300,000 birds, mainly turkeys.
But the farm ministry had said in a report to the Paris-based OIE on March 1 that the event had been resolved.
In addition to the animals that died of the disease, about 12,000 turkeys were culled in Bezet due to the outbreak, the ministry said.
High pathogenic H5N1 bird flu first infected humans in 1997 in Hong Kong. It has since spread from Asia to Europe and Africa and has become entrenched in poultry in some countries, causing millions of poultry infections and several hundred human deaths.
The strain is different to the H5N2 strain that has been spreading in the United States, leading to the death or culling of nearly 30 million birds so far.
Courtesy of haaretz.com

Blistering heatwave on the way to Israel

Heatwave Warning

Emergency medical personnel were placed on alert Monday amid forecasts that temperatures around Israel will rise over 40 degrees Celsius (104° Fahrenheit) during the week.
The upcoming heatwave, expected to peak Tuesday, marks an early kickoff to the summer season following a relatively mild spring.
Temperatures Monday are expected to reach 42° C (107.6 F) in Eilat, in Beersheba and the Dead Sea 41° C (106° F), in Tiberias 40° C (104° F), and in Rehovot 39° C (102 F).
Meanwhile temperatures in Tel Aviv are expected to reach a high of 36° C (97° F), while Jerusalem will enjoy a milder 34° C (93° F).
Fire bans were instituted across swaths of northern and central Israel, while additional firefighters were mobilized throughout the country, Walla reported.
Medical personnel were also placed on standby, while Magen David Adom urged residents to follow a series of sun-smart guidelines to prevent cases of heatstroke or dehydration.
The Israel Electric Corporation is gearing up for increased electricity consumption nationwide as well, as Israelis turn to their air conditioners for respite from the heat.
The sizzling weather is expected to abate Thursday when temperatures will mercifully return to seasonal norms.
Courtesy of timesofisrael.com

5,800 birds dead due to avian flu in Gaza, Palestine

Bird Flu

Jabaliya in the Gaza Strip in poultry (species not identified). Of the 1,100 birds died and 4,700 were destroyed. The diagnosis was confirmed on March 25 by molecular biology technique.
This is the first reported outbreak in the Gaza Strip, while for the month of January 2015, the Ministry of Agriculture in Gaza has banned poultry imports from the West Bank and Israel to reduce the risk introduction of avian influenza.
According to reliable information, outbreaks reported in Israel and the West Bank have been caused by a strain of influenza A (H5N1) whose genotype is closely related to that of the strain circulating in Egypt.
Courtesy of mesvaccins.net

40,000 turkeys to be killed due to avian flu in Sharon Region, Israel

H5N1 Virus Alert

H5N1 virus emerges in Sharon-area kibbutz after outbreak in north caused destruction of 100,000 birds.

Symptoms of a highly pathogenic bird flu virus were discovered Saturday at a turkey farm near Kibbutz Magal in the Sharon Region.

The Agriculture Ministry began destroying 40,000 of the birds at the farm in response. Meanwhile, concerns arose that other farms in the area – in the towns of Elishema and Neve Yamin – had been affected by the disease.

Inspectors from the ministry arrived at the farm in Magel following the initial suspicion and took samples for examination in a laboratory.

The site was closed off after a positive result came back towards the evening.

The discovery of the virus came less than a week after it emerged at another Israeli turkey farm.

The first case in Israel in nearly three years was found in a village in the north on Monday, the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) said.

The deadly H5N1 virus caused the death of 15,000 birds at a turkey fattening farm in Avi’el, south of Haifa, the OIE reported on its website, citing data submitted by Israel’s ministry of agriculture.

More than 140,000 birds were to be culled due to that outbreak, including 61,000 turkeys at a farm nearby where no clinical signs had been seen, the ministry said.

“The culling of all the flocks is ongoing. Backyard birds in the village will also be culled,” it said.

High pathogenic H5N1 bird flu first infected humans in 1997 in Hong Kong. It has since spread from Asia to Europe and Africa and has become entrenched in poultry in some countries, causing millions of poultry infections and several hundred human deaths.

Courtesy of Ynet News

Fierce sandstorm lashes Egypt, Israel and Lebanon, halting Suez traffic

Sandstorm Alert

A fierce sandstorm lashed Egypt, Israel and Lebanon on Wednesday, forcing the closure of the Suez Canal and grounding domestic flights in Israel, officials said.
The skyline of Cairo was barely visible as dust blown in from the surrounding desert hung in the air and shrouded the Egyptian capital for a second day. 
A few incoming flights were diverted to other airports in the country but most air traffic was normal, an airport official said. 
But the Suez Canal southeast of Cairo was closed Wednesday, with 52 ships waiting to enter from the Red Sea as winds reached 74 kilometres per hour (46 miles per hour), officials told AFP. 
Traffic would resume once the storm subsides, the officials said. 
The health ministry advised Egyptians to wear masks when leaving their homes. 
In neighbouring Israel, the domestic carrier Arkia said it had grounded flights for several hours until 1400 GMT because of bad weather.
11.02.15 Israel Sandstorm
A view of Ben-Gurion Airport as dust storms descend on Israel. (photo credit:ISRAEL AIRPORTS AUTHORITY)
Courtesy of Gulf Times

Severe snowstorm leaves 4 dead with many helpless in Gaza

Severe Weather Alert

The victims lived at the site of homes previously destroyed by Israel during its latest 51-day offensive on the Gaza Strip
A snowstorm overwhelming the Middle East region since Tuesday has so far left four people, including three infants, dead in the Gaza Strip, the Health Ministry said.
“Severe cold led to the death of four people on Friday and Saturday,” the Health Ministry added in a statement.
It said the victims lived at the site of homes previously destroyed by Israel during its latest 51-day offensive on the Gaza Strip.
The ministry said one of the dead infants was four months old, while another was three months old and the third was one-month old.
It added that the fourth victim was 22 years old and that he died in southern the Gaza Strip.
A severe snowstorm has been hitting several Middle Eastern countries since Tuesday, giving millions of people tough weather conditions in the region.
Gaza civil defense spokesman, Mohamed al-Medana, meanwhile, said tens of homes were submerged with water as a result of bad weather conditions.
He added that civil defense teams had managed to rescue 152 families in southern Gaza after their homes were submerged with rainwater.
Courtesy of worldbulletin


Winter Storm Warning_2

***BE ALERT***

Winter storm to strike Israel

Winter Storm Warning

As rains poured down over much of Israel on Saturday, the country braced for a much stronger storm slated to begin during the week.
Already on Thursday evening, the Israel Meteorological Service issued an early warning about the possibility of increasingly stormy weather. Toward the middle of the week, the region is likely to experience significantly wintry weather, including rain, floods, low temperatures, strong winds and snows on mountaintops, the IMS said.
Models obtained by the IMS forecasting center indicated that on Tuesday, strong winds and large amounts of precipitation are expected in northern Israel. Snow will likely begin in the high peaks of the Galilee and the Golan Heights, , already reaching the lower peaks of the Upper Galilee by evening – including Safed and other towns in the region, the IMS said. The Mediterranean Sea is expected to rise significantly on Tuesday, with waves reaching a high of about 4 meters. 
On Wednesday, storm weather will likely worsen, with snow powdering mountain peaks and piling up on the ground in the Center of the country, including in Jerusalem, the IMS reported. Waves are also expected to remain high that day.
By Thursday, the models predicted predominantly rainy conditions, accompanied by continued snow on mountains. Israelis will also feel intense cold around the country, the IMS added. 
The January wintry weather follows a December “marked by a lack of rain and hotter than average,” according to information compiled by the IMS climate department head, Dr. Amos Porat. While the dryness was not record-breaking, the rain amounts in December were significantly smaller than yearly averages for the month, and the driest on a national level since 1993, the information said. 
“Thanks to the rainy November, the rain amounts since the beginning of the season are average for the same period on the Coastal Plain and the hills of the Center,” Porat wrote. “In other areas cumulative rainfall quantities are close to the average or slightly below it.”
Courtesy of The Jerusalem Post

UN declares Gaza City state of emergency over floods

Palestinian men in the back of a pickup truck make their way through a flooded street during heavy rains in Gaza City on November 27, 2014. (photo credit: AFP PHOTO /MAHMUD HAMS)

Hundreds evacuate homes in Northern district after storms; some 100,000 Gazans homeless since summer conflict

A United Nations agency declared a state of “emergency” in Gaza City on Thursday, after two days of heavy rains and flooding in the Palestinian enclave.

“Hundreds of residents in the flooded areas around Sheikh Radwan storm water lagoon have evacuated their homes,” the UN agency for Palestinian refugees said, referring to a northern district.

Some 100,000 Palestinians throughout Gaza remain homeless three months after a ceasefire ended a 50-day war between Israel and Hamas-led fighters, with reconstruction yet to begin in earnest.

UNRWA said it was supplying “emergency fuel to municipalities, water, sanitation and health facilities.”

Robert Turner, its director of operations in Gaza, said the agency was “very concerned about such severe storms this early in the season and on the back of unprecedented damage and destruction” from the war.

Thousands of Gazans were displaced last December after torrential rain hit the coastal territory, UNRWA said.

“Such devastation exacerbates the already poor humanitarian situation for refugees and non-refugees in Gaza, which is dealing with the aftermath of a recent conflict and an acute fuel and energy crisis,” it said.

Little construction materials have entered Gaza following a UN-brokered deal under which Israel eased an eight-year blockade of Gaza.

According to a foreign diplomatic source, the mechanism for delivering materials has “taken longer than anticipated” to launch.