Israel oil spill said to be one of country’s worst ever ecological disasters
08 December 2014
A breach in one of Israel’s main oil pipelines on December 4 has released up to three million litres of oil into the surrounding environment, according to experts quoted by the Times of Israel. The extent of the spill is said to be two kilometres long and the leak, near the village of Be’er Ora in the the south of the country, shut the main road to the port of Eilat.
A preliminary investigation indicated that the spill was caused after the pipeline was struck accidentally during maintenance work.
Teams are working around the clock to clean up the spill, but the Times of Israel report said it could take months or even years to clean up. The Trans-Israel pipeline is a major oil conduit between the Mediterranean and Red seas, and runs from Eilat to Ashkelon.
Other than the environmental damage, the spill sent over 80 people to hospital with respiratory problems on both sides of the Israel-Jordan border , with 30 workers hospitalised at Aqaba’s King Hussein International Airport alone. Aqaba residents were ordered to remain indoors, Jordanian media reported.