Israel's national "Blood Bank" could be knocked out in the next war or earthquake
According to experts from Israel's Ministry of Health and the National Ambulance Service have said that the country's 1000- unit Blood Bank could be severely damaged and even taken out of service if hit in a war or damaged by an earthquake. According to some, the blood storage facilities are so vulnerable that, if damaged, over 85% of blood reserves could be either destroyed or polluted.
Blood is a vital component of any hospitals preparedness and in a war or natural disaster, the need for readily available blood supplies could be critical. At the moment, blood is stored in two central, but unprotected facilities - one in Tel Aviv, the other in the north of Israel. Both are vulnerable to missiles or earthquake damage.
The Tel Aviv storage facility has two below ground, refrigerated storage containers sufficient for all the country's reserves for emergency use. Three problems exist
- They are not protected from nuclear or unconventional weapons
- The time required to transfer blood reserves would be over 12 hours - far too long to ensure constant supplies where needed.
- Vital machinery needed to maintain the bloods viability and freedom from contamination is not transportable which further increases risk.
According to health Ministry official, funds have been allocated for the construction of new, fortified storage facilities first in those areas most likely to be targeted in the next war and then for other areas at a later stage. However, the construction of the first facility in the Barzilai Medical Center in Ashkelon is expected to take up to two years to complete.