A critical phase began last week in the construction of a massive underground hospital at the Rambam Health Care Campus in Haifa. The underground facility, built to withstand rocket attacks in the aftermath of the relentless rocket fire rained on Haifa in the Second Lebanon War and the current rearming of Hizbullah forces, will be the world's largest.
No concrete was poured in central or northern Israel for two days anywhere but at the construction site, due to the fact that all available equipment and workers had been hired to pour the roughly 7,000 cubic meters of concrete needed to make the hospital's base.
“This is a historic moment, not only for Rambam, but for the entire State of Israel,” said Rambam Director Professor Rafi Beyar. “For a period of two years, we have coped with unexpected, difficult and weighty logistic problems regarding this construction. We overcame the obstacles, and with the help of our friends – donors and Ministry of Health officials – we are on the right path.”
The hospital will serve as both a medical facility and a parking lot. At most times, the facility will provide space for 1,500 employees and visitors to park their cars. However, in case of emergency, the facility will quickly become a 2,000-bed hospital protected from both conventional rocket attacks and chemical or biological warfare.
The hospital will be able to generate its own power, and will store enough oxygen, water and medical equipment to get by for at least three days.
Due to its location, the facility is not only underground, but is eight meters below sea level in a beachfront city. Special pumps have worked around the clock to move underground saltwater back to the sea, allowing builders to keep working.
In late October, work will begin on the Ruth Rappaport Children's Hospital. Following that, builders will begin construction on new oncology and cardiology wards.