Israel’s fortified underground blood bank processes unprecedented amounts as troops move into Gaza

After Hamas fighters launched an assault on southern Israel on October 7, the nation’s recently fortified blood bank, located underground, quickly sprang into action. Workers swiftly transferred equipment to the bunker and began rescuing individuals.

The opening of the Marcus National Blood Services Center in Ramla, near Tel Aviv, was originally planned to take place in a few days. However, due to the high number of casualties in Israel, with over 1,400 people killed since the Hamas attacks and most of them being from the initial strike, the timeline was altered.

Dr. Eilat Shinar, director of Magen David Adom’s national division for blood services and Israel’s medical emergency, disaster, ambulance, and blood service, stated that it was evident the war plans needed to be put into action at this specific moment as it was the intended purpose for which they were created.

The $135-million, 6-story facility is located 15 meters (50 feet) underground and is designed to withstand rockets, missiles, chemical attacks, and earthquakes. This ensures that blood processing can continue even during emergency situations.

Shiner reported that the center supplied a large quantity of blood units in the aftermath of the Hamas assaults.

She stated, “We put in a lot of effort to provide them with all they required. We had numerous casualties that we had to attend to.”

The previous blood bank, constructed in the 1980s, was insufficient in meeting the demands of the country during times of war. Although it had been exposed, it did not sustain any damage in previous conflicts, according to the center. Following Israel’s third conflict with Hamas in 2014, which saw rockets reach major cities like Tel Aviv, talks were initiated to establish a more fortified facility.

The new facility can hold nearly double the amount of blood as its previous counterpart – 500,000 units annually compared to 270,000. It has also handled a larger amount of blood than what was previously stored in Israel’s reserves.

“There was a clear understanding that because rockets were flying close to the center … any other place in the center can be targeted,” said Moshe Noyovich, the project engineer and representative in Israel for the American Friends of Magen David Adom, which primarily funded the new center.

Previously, whenever rockets were launched towards Israel, the team had to relocate their equipment to a bunker in order to continue their work. However, now they are able to work without any interruptions, according to the speaker.

The recently constructed building, spanning 51,000 square meters (or 550,000 square feet), is responsible for handling all of Israel’s donated blood. It includes a transportation hub, a molecular laboratory, an advanced air-filtration system that enables employees to work even in the case of chemical or biological warfare, and a 300-square-meter (3,200-square-foot) secure room designed to protect against the most serious missile attacks, according to the center.

Israel has promised to defeat Hamas in Gaza. Hamas, a radical Islamic organization, has declared its intention to annihilate Israel. With Israeli forces pushing further into the Gaza Strip, the medical center is bracing for a potential influx of injured individuals who may require blood transfusions.

During the ongoing war, numerous individuals have patiently queued for hours to give blood. According to the center’s personnel, there was a significant increase in donations in early October, with 5,000 units received in a single day – five times the regular amount. The most suitable donors are those with Type O blood, as it can be safely transfused to anyone and provides quicker support to those in need.

After being donated, blood is sent to hospitals and immediately used by the Israeli military to provide medical care to injured soldiers during combat.

“According to Guillemette Thomas, the medical coordinator for Doctors Without Borders, in times of war, blood is crucial for the resuscitation process and it is important to have a supply readily available for immediate use.”


Mednick stated from Jerusalem.


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