Rambam Medical Center
Public Affairs and Spokesman
David Ratner, Director
LAYING THE FOUNDATION FOR THE WORLD'S LARGEST UNDERGROUND HOSPITAL
Seven thousand cubic meters of concrete were poured this week to form the
base of the world's largest underground hospital. For 36 hours running,
shifts of 70 workers and 80 cement mixers worked to lay the foundation of
the emergency facility, which is designed to withstand conventional,
chemical, and biological attacks
The night of Saturday October 9, 2010 marked the start of a crucial phase of
construction at the Rambam Health Care Campus in Haifa, Israel. More than 70
workers at the site began to pour roughly 7,000 cubic meters of concrete,
which will form the concrete base of Rambam's protected emergency
underground hospital - the largest facility of its type in the world - and
underground parking lot. The pouring, which continued for more than 36 hours
straight, involved 80 cement mixers that completed 1,000 rounds of mixing.
To meet the deadline, four Haifa area concrete plants supplied materials
around the clock.
According to Rambam Department of Engineering Director Aryeh Berkovitz, for
two days following this effort, no concrete was poured in central to
northern Israel. This is due to the fact that all related facilities, tools
and personnel in the region were involved in the huge Rambam project.
RHCC Director Prof. Rafi Beyar commented, "This is a historic moment, not
only for Rambam, but for the entire State of Israel. 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."
This project is slated for completion by May 2012, at which time the
three-floor parking lot will provide much-needed parking space for some
1,500 Rambam workers and visitors. In times of emergency, the lot can be
transformed at short notice into a 2,000-bed hospital that is secure from
conventional, chemical and biological weapons.
Not only underground, the emergency hospital will also sit eight meters
below sea level. Designed to be self-sufficient, the hospital will be able
to generate its own power and can store enough oxygen, drinking water and
medical supplies for up to three days. Due to its special location, the
facility's construction has demanded unusual measures. Pumps have operated
throughout construction - and will continue to the project's end - 24 hours
a day, moving millions of cubic meters of brackish groundwater to the sea,
enabling the workers to carry out their mission.
The next major step in the Rambam complex construction - the concrete
pouring for the foundation of the Ruth Rappaport Children's Hospital - will
begin on October 30, 2010. After that, work will begin on the new oncology
and cardiology hospitals.
"Work is proceeding in a very ordered and professional manner," says Aryeh
Berkovitz, who reports that all construction is proceeding according to
plan. Due to the project's enormous scope and special nature, it has been
making headlines. The recent cement pouring has received coverage on all
major radio stations, TV channels and in the printed and online media
Watch the foundation laying for the World's Largest Underground Hospital on
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Photographs of the foundation laying are available upon request from RHCC
Asst. Spokesperson Dganit Kenig at 972-4-854-2718, 972-50-206-3363 and