Monday, December 6, 2010

MOUNT CARMEL - הר הכרמל

The mountain range Har HaCarmel in the north of Israel stretches from the Mediterranean sea to the southeast, it doesn't stand very high, about 550 m, extending 23 km with a width of about 10 km.
For the Israeli people it is a paradise, a beautiful wild nature park, with a dense forest of old trees, like oak and pine and an abundance of animal and plant life. Families love to hike and picnic there on weekends. A huge variety of plants, more than 600 species, grow on this mountain, and the place is in full bloom in spring with the most wonderful flowers. 

The name Carmel Mountain, HarCarmel in Hebrew means the "vineyard of god" and as a matter of fact ancient wine and oil presses have been discovered at various places on the range.



Haifa is located on the northern slope of the Carmel and more towns are present on the range, like Sichron Yaakov, Yokneam, Tirat Carmel, Nesher, the artists colony Ein Hod, and two Druze cities, Usfia and Daliat alCarmel. In the heart of the mountain forest lies the Kibbutz Beit Oren. There are several caves on the mountain, including one with prehistoric finds.

On and off the Carmel's history there have been natural fires, from those the forest always recovered relatively soon. This time real tragedy struck last week, Thursday, December 2th, on a beautiful sunny day, when the worst fire ever, supported by strong winds, started to sweep through the mountain. It resulted in the highest loss of life in a natural disaster here in Israel. We mourn 40 service guards who's life's ended terribly when their bus got engulfed by the fire on their way to evacuate a prison high up at the range. We mourn more deaths and we are in awe about many wounded, some very badly. It was necessary to vacate more than 17 000 people from their homes. Dozens of houses are lost in the blaze and Kibbutz Beit Oren is almost completely destroyed. About 9000 acres of land are burned and millions of trees are lost.
                                           Photo: Israeli police

Finally after four days of blazing inferno the firefighters succeeded yesterday to extinguish the flames, with much help from abroad, several countries came to the rescue and deserve our deep and sincerely felt thankfulness.
Now the result of this awful catastrophe will have to be evaluated and the sad and devastating task of cleaning up, restoring, rebuilding and replanting has to start. The costs have to be calculated and will reach billions of shekels. Questions have to be answered. 
The people and the damaged land will have to recover... Unfortunately too late it started to rain this morning.

Photographs Uri Eshkar

10 comments:

2 B's World said...

Das ist ein schreckliches Unglück.
Die vielen Toten und Verletzten, die zu beklagen sind. Meine Gedanken sind in den letzten Tagen oft bei ihnen und ihren Angehörigen. Unvorstellbar, was sie durchmachen mußten und müssen.
Und natürlich ist es auch ein sehr großer Verlust, was die Natur angeht. Deine Bilder mit den schönen Pflanzen...all das ist nun vernichtet.
Wie gut, daß nun die Flammen gestoppt werden konnten...leider für viele Menschen zu spät.

Mitfühlende Grüße von Birgit

Eva said...

Man arbeitet doch seit Jahren daran, das Wetter zu beeinflussen. Wieviel Gutes könnte man damit bewirken: Regen zur rechten Zeit -- oder Sonne. Brände wie dieser sind tragische Ereignisse, und ich hoffe sehr, daß die Natur sich regenerieren kann.

glazedOver said...

It is so tragic that this has happened. We have been days and days with our hearts in our hands. We are hoping and praying for comfort for the families who have suffered and strength and determination for those who will be able to help rebuild.

Annuk said...

I am so deeply sorry about this tragedy that struck both people and nature in your beautiful land.
Thank you Yael for your great comment that gives me an even deeper insight into Hagar's passionate artwork!!! I'm glad I discovered your beautiful blog :)!
You live in such a beautiful country, it's so sad this had to happen...

Heidegeist said...

Ich habe es in den Nachrichten verfolgt und es ist wirklich eine Katastrophe für dieses schöne Fleckchen Erde und vor allem für die menschen dort. LG Inge

Bernstein said...

Es ist einfach nur sehr sehr traurig und tragisch. Solche Katastrophen machen mich einfach sprach- und fassungslos.
Vielleicht wird doch wieder alles gut.
GlG Inbar

Irmi said...

Es ist schimm, wenn in jedem Jahr die Brände wüten.Es ist eine Katastrophe. Mir tun die armen Menschen leid. Man steht so hilflos daneben.
Liebe Grüße
Irmi

Hilde said...

The photos are absolutely wonderful!

The fire was such a tragedy. I feel so sad for all the people involved, and for the land. Hopefully all will recover.

Smithy said...

The tragedies caused by the fires is sadly not new to me. Here in Australia, there are many bad bushfires and often lives are lost as well as property, homes, et cetera. My heart goes out to all the living things who are caught up in the flames...just awful.

The flowers you show are quite magical, Yael. I had no idea that cyclamens would grow wild in Israel!

Yael said...

Oh yes Penelope, they do, as a matter of fact they bloom here in abundance in spring, colors from almost white, to light and to dark pink! We have a hill, called the "cyclamen hill" thousand of wild cyclamen blooming there in spring!