One Million Chickens Die as Heat Wave Blankets Israel

Insurance Fund for Natural Disasters reports over 100 calls of damage to chicken coops throughout country estimated at NIS 5 million.

Over a million chickens died on Sunday as a heavy heat wave blanketed Israel, according to an Israeli agricultural association.

Chicken coop.

By noon on Sunday, the Insurance Fund for Natural Disasters received more than 100 reports about damage to chicken coops throughout the country, especially in the North.

The damage was estimated at over NIS 5 million.

The last time a heat wave of this magnitude struck Israel was in 2002, with temperatures soaring beyond 40 degrees. At the time, the insurance fund paid over NIS40 million in damages to farmers, NIS 4 million of which went to chicken farmers.

The heat wave that has hit the entire country for close to two months continued over the weekend and does not show any signs of easing up in the near future. The mercury is not only two to four degrees above normal, but the heat is combined with high levels of humidity, creating particularly high heat stress.

Forecasters say the seasonal low pressure system that generally moderates the heat slightly is not being felt as much as usual, while hot air from the tropics at higher levels of the atmosphere is pushing up the thermometer.

Temperatures topped 30 degrees Celsius in Tel Aviv Saturday and reached 33 in Haifa, drawing large crowds to the beaches as Israelis sought respite from the 60-percent humidity that prevailed along the coast. Temperatures in Tiberias were over 40 degrees Celsius yesterday and reached 43 at the Dead Sea.

The electric company issued a request urging people to cut the electricity use to minimum as they feared shortage due to high demand.